From 17 to 19 November in Accra, Ghana, the African Advisory Group of the SSF Global Strategic Framework (SSF-GSF) participated in a three-day consultative event for the establishment of a Continental Coordination Platform for the active involvement of Non-State Actors (NSAs) in fisheries and aquaculture. The workshop was jointly organised by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU IBAR), FAO and the African union Development Agency (AUDA NEPAD).
The initiative aligns with and supports the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and aquaculture in Africa (PFRS), which advocates for the development of SSF to strengthen their positive impact on poverty alleviation and food and nutrition security, and the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM), whose aim is to facilitate the coordination and coherence in the governance of the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Furthermore, the platform is linked to the 10 Year Action Plan for Small Scale Fisheries Development in Africa and the SSF Voluntarily Guidelines.
The African Advisory Group was represented by Ms Anita Lekgowa and Ms Sylvie Mpembe Mountsoueke, who presented to the attendees the IPC on Food Sovereignty, with a particular focus on the SSF-Global Strategic Framework and on the role of the International Advisory Group and the Regional Advisory Groups in monitoring the implementation of the SSF Voluntary Guidelines.
Since 2008, the IPC Working Group on Fisheries 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), which represents the first international instrument specifically dedicated to small-scale fisheries. Later, the IPC Working Group on Fisheries took on the role of Advisory Group in the Global Strategic Framework in support of the implementation of the SSF Guidelines (SSF-GSF)
At present, the IPC Working Group on Fisheries is developing a monitoring framework for the assessment of the SSF Guidelines implementation with the collaboration of the International Advisory Group and the Regional AGs. The assessment and policy work will be carried out by the Regional AGs and the national movements and it will provide a realistic image of the SSF Guidelines implementation status at national and local level. The monitoring will be pivotal to establish political dialogues at regional and local level for the recognition of SSF rights and the adaptation of national standards to the provisions of the SSF Guidelines. In addition, the Regional AGs will engage with all the regional processes relevant to the implementation and monitoring of the SSF guidelines; this includes continued engagement and participation in the African Non-State Actors Coordinating Platform in Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The Coordination Platform will in fact provide a new space for interaction and advocating, emphasising the role of NSAs in fisheries governance and enhancing their participation in decision-making to better influence the definition and implementation of policies in the fisheries sector. It will create new connections between NSAs and boost their coordination, thus strengthening their ability to safeguard and promote the SSF interest and rights.