Social movements for small-scale fisheries meet in Rome ahead of the COFI

August 23, 2022

The 35th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) will take place from 5th to 9th September 2022 in Rome, Italy. This is the most important global intergovernmental forum where FAO Members meet to analyse and discuss issues and challenges related to fisheries and aquaculture. The IPC has been recognized as an observer at the COFI for a long time and has used this space for years to ensure the recognition and protection of SSF and Indigenous peoples’ rights and it’s there it got its biggest achievements. In 2014, the UN’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) endorsed the SSF Guidelines bringing the voice of civil society into the technical negotiations, including the IPC WG on Fisheries, which carried out almost 25 national and regional consultations worldwide.

Within this context, the IPC Working Group on Fisheries will take the opportunity of the 35th COFI edition being held in conjunction with the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Acquaculture (IYAFA) to celebrate Small-Scale Fisher people’s movements around the world.

The 2 and 3 September we’ll gather different networks of SSF communities, Indigenous People, SSF workers and youths in Rome, just before the COFI, to build common views around crucial topics relevant to SSF people’s survival and dignity.

It will be a crucial moment to organise and discuss on the future of artisanal fisheries and acquaculture in a context of climate crisis, corporate abuse and the disruptions of pandemic. We strongly believe that local markets, small-scale food production and the promotion of human and environmental rights must be at the core of all regulatory and political action. We need governments and the international community to recognise the unique role of small-scale fishing communities in ensuring sustainable use of resources and biodiversity reproduction. We’ll continue to oppose the promotion of false solutions like the “blue economy“, created for multinationals to remain in control of the market without changing their extractive relation with the ecosystems and local communities.

To face these multiple challenges, a gathering of social movements of small-scale fisheries will be crucial and strategic to relaunch a global agenda for Food Sovereignty for the people of the oceans and the inland water bodies.