From 10 to 12 of July in Kasane, Botswana, the IPC working group on Fisheries is participating to the Pan African workshop on Strengthening non-state actor (NSA) platforms and their representation at regional and global levels for sustainable small-scale fisheries in Africa.
Accordingly, the development of sustainable small-scale fisheries is an integral part of the African Union Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (AU PF&RS – 2014) and a 10 Year Action Plan for Small-Scale Fisheries Development in Africa was published in 2017.
At the global policy level, IPC working group on Fisheries since 2008 actively participated in the negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) representing the first international instrument specifically dedicated to small-scale fisheries. They provide a comprehensive framework for States and stakeholders in supporting the visibility, recognition and enhancement of the important role of small-scale fisheries and its contribution to global and national efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty.
After the approval of SSF Guidelines in FAO Committee on Fisheries in 2014, the IPC Working Group on Fisheries actively work in collaboration with FAO to move forward on their implementation, respecting the participatory spirit of their negotiations.
During the FAO COFI 2016, IPC proposed a Small Scale Fisheries Global Strategic Framework (SSF-GSF), recognizing the leadership of Social Movements in informing and advising FAO and the governments on the implementation process. The FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) welcomed the development of a Global Strategic Framework in Support of the Implementation of the SSF Guidelines (SSF-GSF). The SSF-GSF is conceived as a multi-actor partnership mechanism with an important advisory role for small-scale fisheries actors. It should also facilitate collaboration and experience sharing. The proposed structure of the SSF-GSF includes an Advisory Group (AG) of mainly small-scale fisheries actors, a Friends of the SSF Guidelines group consisting of governments, a Knowledge Sharing Platform for other stakeholders, and an FAO Secretariat.
Both the PF&RS (PFRS) and the SSF Guidelines address the importance of effective participation of small-scale fishers and fish workers in decision and development processes that concern their lives and livelihoods. To make such participation possible, organizations representing small-scale fisheries are needed as well as the appropriate processes giving them a seat around the decision-making table. Accordingly, in 2015, the AU Inter-African Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) support the establishment of sub-regional NSA platforms to cover both industrial and SSF fisheries and aquaculture, and are not including only producer organizations.
There are thus ongoing processes both at the regional and global levels for building institutional structures to strengthen the voice of small-scale fishers and fish workers in relation to fisheries policies and the implementation of the SSF Guidelines.
The IPC working Group participated in the workshop with 5 delegates from each of the African sub-regions to start to coordinate the global process of the GSF SSF with the African Union process and to have recognized Small Scale Fisheries organizations at the lead of the process of implementation of the SSF Guidelines beyond FAO in Rome.