About the Working Group
PRESENTATION OF THE WORKING GROUP
Small-scale fisheries (SSF) communities have a unique bond with water, the element shaping their local culture and around which social and economic life revolves. Those communities provide for proteins supply in their regions and represent an economic value all too often forgotten. Small-scale fisheries are indeed not limited to capture, but include a multitude of pre-harvest and post-harvest activities, thus supporting the entire social fabric of communities.
Nevertheless, despite their socio-economic relevance, small-scale fisheries are also subject to many threats, as the intensive industrial fishing, water pollution, industrial aquaculture and both land and ocean grabbing.
Through the space of alliance and coordination offered by the IPC Working Group on Fisheries, the major global civil society networks representing small-scale fisheries have joined together to bring the voice of their communities to international political decision-making bodies.
This advocacy work had made it possible to achieve one of the main achievements of the IPC when, in 2014, the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) were endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI).
The key role played by the IPC in developing the SSF Guidelines was acknowledged by COFI when, two years later, with the establishment of the FAO SSF Umbrella Programme and the Global Strategic Framework in support of the implementation of the SSF Guidelines (SSF-GSF), the IPC Working Group on Fisheries was identified to act as the SSF-GSF Advisory Group.
STRUCTURE OF THE WORKING GROUP
The Coordination Group of the IPC WG on Fisheries has the mandate to identify the priorities on which the WG is going to focus its work. It is composed of representatives from the civil society networks active in the WG, nominated for a two-years mandate, following gender- and regional-balance criteria.
Cairo Laguna – WFF, Nicaragua;
Christiana Louwa – WFFP, Kenya;
Editrudith Lukanga – WFF, Tanzania;
Jesu Rethinam – WFFP, India;
Margaret Nakato – WFF, Uganda;
Naseegh Jaffer – WFFP, South Africa;
The Advisory Group of the SSF-GSF mechanism is composed of members nominated by the four networks part of the IPC WG on Fisheries (WFF, WFFP, IITC, LVC) who provide recommendations and ensure a coherent and participatory implementation and monitoring of the SSF Guidelines, in accordance with international Human Rights standards.
REGIONAL ADVISORY GROUP
The Regional Advisory Groups were then created in 2020 to ensure a coherent implementation of policies, strategies and actions in support of the SSF Guidelines implementation at the regional level, and to inform the AG SSF-GSF regarding the status of the implementation of the SSF Guidelines and of the fulfillment of the small-scale fisher and Indigenous peoples’ rights.
PARTICIPATION IN POLICY-MAKING PROCESSES
The FAO Committee on Fisheries is the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined, and recommendations addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fishworkers, FAO and the international community, periodically on a world-wide basis. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 34th edition of COFI, initially foreseen for July 2020, will take place virtually in February 2021.
Click here to access the report of COFI 33 (2018).
The organisations of the IPC Fisheries Working Group are part of the Advisory Group of the SFF-GSF (AG), along with IFAD and OHCHR. The role of the AG is to raise awareness on the SSF Guidelines and promote a human rights-based approach, give inputs on the implementation of the Guidelines at the national level, as well defining the criteria for its monitoring through a participatory process.
Click here to access the COFI update on the implementation of the SSF-GSF
2022 is going to be the UN International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, a unique opportunity to highlight the critical role of small-scale fisheries in the context of food sovereignty and environmental defence, as well as the many threats they are facing. IYAFA will be, therefore, an opportunity to put forward the SSF Guidelines and the need for their comprehensive implementation. The IPC Fisheries WG will engage with FAO to give thematic inputs and organise regional events of awareness-raising.
SDG 14 focus on the conservation and the sustainability of the oceans. This objective cannot be achieved without the participation and the active protection of the small-scale fisheries communities. In particular, Indicator 14.b.1 is entirely dedicated to the necessity of an appropriate application of a legal/regulatory/policy /institutional framework which recognises and protects access rights for small-scale fisheries, of which the SSF-Guidelines represent the most important international instrument.
IYAFA, 2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Acquaculture
We, the Fisheries Working Group of IPC, have taken part in the launch event of this important year, 2022 will be our year!
The IPC will work hard to use this moment to shine a light on the the requests coming from small-scale fishing communities all over the world! We want governments to integrate as soon as possible the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-Scale Fisheries in their national legislations, to give back rights and dignity to fishing communities all over the world. Seize the opportunity and take a step forward!