The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC),
RECOGNISING that Article 25 paragraph 3 of the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea of December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA) describes, inter alia, forms of cooperation with developing states and the need for assistance relating to collection, reporting, verification, exchange and analysis of fisheries data and related information; and stock assessment and scientific research;
RECALLING that the IOTC Scientific Committee has noted with concern the lack of participants from developing States at its meetings and those of its subsidiary bodies since 2004;
RECALLING ALSO that these concerns have been acknowledged by the Commission since its Seventh Session, and by the IOTC Performance Review Panel in 2009, who reiterated these concerns and recommended that a special fund be established to support the participation of scientists from developing States;
ADOPTS, in accordance with the provisions of Article IX, paragraph 1 of the IOTC Agreement, the following:
A special Meeting Participation Fund (MPF) be established for the purposes of supporting scientists and representatives from IOTC Contracting Parties and Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties (CPCs) who are developing States to attend and/or contribute to the work of the Commission, the IOTC Scientific Committee and its Working Parties.
The MPF shall be financed from an initial allocation of USD200,000 from IOTC’s accumulated funds, and subsequently by voluntary contributions from Members and such other sources as the Commission may identify. The Commission will identify, at its 15th Session, a procedure for supplying funds to the MPF in the future.
The Fund will be administered by the IOTC Executive Secretary, in accordance with the same financial controls as regular budget appropriations.
The IOTC Executive Secretary shall establish a process for notifying CPCs annually of the level of available funds in the MPF, and provide a timeline and describe the format for the submission of applications for assistance.
The IOTC Executive Secretary shall submit an annual report to the Commission on the status of the Fund, including a financial statement of contributions to and disbursements from the Fund;
The Fund would be utilised, as a first priority, to support the participation of scientists from developing CPCs in scientific meetings of the IOTC, including Working Parties. Those eligible scientists may submit an application for assistance from the Fund. Applicants will be selected by a panel including the Chair of the scientific body concerned, the IOTC Secretariat and the Chair of the IOTC Scientific Committee, in accordance with the process established in 4 above. Priority will be given to those applicants that will contribute a scientific document on a subject of interest to the meeting they wish to attend. The decision by the Panel shall also take into account the size of the fund and the need for cost-effectiveness. Consideration of applications shall also include an assessment of whether any alternative sources of assistance are available.
The remainder of the Fund will be used to finance the participation of one representative per developing CPC to a non-scientific meeting of the Commission, including regular Sessions, if the CPC intends to present reports relevant to the meeting in question, and provided that the CPC is not eligible for support under the fund established under part VII of the UNFSA.
The Fund will be allocated in such a way that no more than 25% of the expenditures of the Fund in one year is used to fund attendance to non-scientific meetings.
Applicants should note that alternative avenues of funding are available to developing State Members who wish to send scientists to IOTC scientific meetings. For example, a fund has been established under Part VII of UNFSA to assist developing States that are signatories of the UNFSA to implement its provisions, including participation in the work of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. For those eligible Members of IOTC, this could provide for an alternative source of funding to participate in meetings of the Commission and subsidiary bodies or to fund attendance at IOTC meetings as training and capacity building required to fulfil the obligations under the UNFSA.