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Youth Network to Strengthen Southeast Asian Fisheries Collaboration
Activity 11 Januari 2016

Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center(SEAFDEC) is an autonomous intergovernmental body established as a regional treaty organization in 1967 and is mandated to promote fisheries development in South East Asia region. In carrying out its role, SEAFDEC created the Regional Fisheries Policy Network (RFPN) as promoter or secretary of the Network. Established during the 36th Council Meeting on 2006 in Brunei Darussalam, the RFPN is a continuation of Working Group on Regional Fisheries Policy(WGRFP) consists of eight member countries, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. For the year 2015, I on behalf of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries(MMAF) was given the opportunity to be the RFPN Representatives for Indonesia.

In the Secretariat Office of SEAFDEC, Bangkok, the RFPN Members work under the general supervision of Secretary-General of SEAFDEC for a period of one year, and can be extended of up to two years or more. The main duty of an RFPN is to enhance coordination between SEAFDEC and their respective Countries, and to promote regional and sub-regional cooperation. As RFPN Representative, we usually participated on several SEAFDEC events and activities related to the promotion fisheries management. Aside from this, part of our task is to promote in-country or in-department coordination to compile relevant information and data as inputs to conduct studies, consultations, training and other activities Further, our functions as RFPM also require us to actively participate in initiating and promoting the formulation of regional fisheries policies, including preparation and finalization of the required working or background papers. Every month, SEAFDEC conducts the Secretariat Monthly Meeting where SEAFDEC staff and RFPN members are to report, discuss and explore strategies towards program implementation. Usually RFPN Members are assigned to make the report of the meeting.

In 2015, I, Sevi Sawestri was as the RFPN representative from Indonesia. During one year term at SEAFDEC, I had attended many activities under the SEAFDEC program such as meetings, training on data collection for sharks and rays. This training had taught me techniques on how to accurately collect and input data for sharks and rays in landing site and had helped me enhanced my skills on data collection which is also related with my work in Indonesia. In addition, the RFPN was tasked to conduct “Survey on Human Resources Availability and Priority Needs for Capacity Building Related to Fisheries in ASEAN Member States” in 2015. This survey aims to determine the existing human resources of fisheries department and other relevant institutions within the SEAFDEC MCs. Through this project, RFPN Members are encouraged to have an interaction among the Members to express and share their views on fisheries issues. The discussion on some issues includes the identification of strategies on how to gather information and in developing questionnaire on human resources survey. In addition, RFPN also were given a training to boost their English writing and speaking skills through the training on Advanced Writing Skills. The training includes skills development/enhancement in undertaking general office duty such as preparing meeting and discussion reports, writing articles, policy brief, speeches and institutional legal documents. The said training is important for me, for I will be writing scientific journals in our office upon my return to my country.

My work as an RFPN Member is colorful in the sense that it provides me a lot of beautiful experiences. First, I have doubted my limited ability in speaking English which have increases my fear and hesitation to accept the offer of becoming an RFPN Representative. However, my family and friends convinced me to accept this job. Through this Network I have gained new knowledge and discovered new things such as Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, Monitoring Control Surveillance (MSC), Regional Fishing Vessel Report (RFVR), Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), National Plan of Action (NPOA), Regional Plan of Action (RPOA) and others. From the meeting, I learned how to identify studies and activities that has to be accomplished in order to collect information on the identified fishery issues as a basis for developing policy recommendations. Aside from the knowledge gained, I also found new friends from Southeast Asia and with them I learned the differences of cultures and lifestyles among Asian neighbors. This experience provides me with the insights on how to foster friendship, mutual trust, and respect and in understanding of other’s traditions and values. Likewise, my co-RFPN Members are like an extended family for me in Bangkok.

Last but not the least, I appreciate SEAFDEC for accepting me as RFPN Representative for Indonesia. The RFPN program builds my understanding on the important issues faced by the Indonesian fishery as well as by other countries and other global issues. Further, the said program has provided me with good opportunity to develop network with other fishery officer from other countries particularly in Southeast Asia. It further encouraged me to development critical thinking skills, and to be respectful and cooperative. Finally, I expect for SEAFDEC to continuously support the RFPN’s capacity building program through the provision of trainings. Upon doing so, I hope that the RFPN Members will have the necessary skills in order to easily carry-out its role. (by: Sevi Sawestri)

Gubernur H.A Bastari St. No.08, Jakabaring, Palembang, South Sumatera, Indonesia
SEAFDEC | Marine and Fisheries Ministry of Indonesia

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