Africa Small Scale Fisheries Summit 2024: Uniting Voices for Sustainable Fisheries

Tue, 04-06-2024 15:00:00
@Chris Bene 2003

Following the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 (IYAFA 2022), the worldwide community witnessed a historic event in the heart of Rome, Italy. The Small-Scale fisheries (SSF) Summit brought together stakeholders from more than 40 nations, providing a forum for debate, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas that are critical for the progress of sustainable fishing practices. Building on this momentum, the Africa SSF Summit 2024 is slated to take place, with the goal of amplifying the African region's voice and impact in the global fisheries conversation. In accordance with her leadership role, the United Republic of Tanzania will host the 2024 SSF Summit for Africa in partnership with AU-IBAR as the first country in the world to execute the SSF Guidelines through the National Plan of Action to execute the SSF Guidelines in 2021.

Setting the Stage: The SSF Summit 2022
The SSF Summit 2022 in Rome was organised by a coalition of influential bodies, including the International Planning Committee (IPC) Working Group on Fisheries, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Small-Scale Fisheries Resource and Collaboration Hub (SSF Hub), and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). 

The gathering, which took place from September 2nd to 4th, 2022, facilitated discussions amongst small-scale fishers, fish workers, essential partners, and decision-makers. With over 140 attendees from various perspectives and skills, the summit acted as a crucible for forming alliances, sharing insights, and charting paths to sustainable fisheries management. 

Looking Ahead: Objectives of the Africa SSF Summit 2024
The Africa SSF Summit 2024 is expected to expand on the success of its predecessor, with a particular emphasis on amplifying the African region's voice in the global SSF discourse. With general and particular goals, this summit intends to be a catalyst for change, empowerment, and collaboration.

Overarching Objective:
The primary goal of the Africa SSF Summit 2024 is to ensure robust representation and visibility of the African region in the global SSF Summit.

Specific Objectives:
1.    Collective Planning and Advising: Provide a platform for small-scale artisanal fishers, fish workers' organizations, and key partners at African and national levels to coordinate efforts, plan collaborations, engage in policy dialogues, and gather commitments and recommendations for political processes, including those of the African Union and other relevant regional and global bodies such as the FAO Committee on Fisheries.
2.    Building Networks and Relationships: Foster interactions, peer-to-peer exchanges, and the strengthening of movements, networks, and organizations within the African small-scale fisheries community.
3.    Knowledge Exchange and Learning: Facilitate the sharing of experiences, challenges, and solutions in implementing the SSF Guidelines and other pertinent policy instruments. Through dialogues, research presentations, and collaborative sessions, participants will advance collective knowledge and promote actionable strategies for sustainable fisheries management.

During the Summit, AU-IBAR an AUDA-NEPAD will host a side event - the Second Awareness Enhancing Workshop on the Importance of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Blue Economy in Africa’s Socio-Economic Development. The event will include representatives from the Tanzanian government. The technical presentations will delve into critical topics, including the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS), the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM), the Africa Blue Economy Strategy, and the importance of enhancing public-private partnerships along the fisheries and aquaculture value chain. Engaging discussions led by AU-IBAR representatives will ensue, fostering knowledge exchange and collaborative efforts towards sustainable development in the fisheries sector. 
As the countdown begins for the Africa SSF Summit 2024, stakeholders across the African continent and beyond are poised to converge, unite, and drive positive change in the realm of small-scale fisheries. Together, they will chart a course towards sustainable practices, equitable partnerships, and a brighter future for coastal communities and marine ecosystems alike.

AU-IBAR's participation in the event is funded by the European Union under FishGov2. FishGov 2 has produced an output on the creation of procedures to guarantee that sustainable fisheries and aquaculture are integrated into the implementation of AU policies and initiatives affecting the industry. This output includes an action to engage non-fisheries and aquaculture players. This is done to raise awareness among relevant non-fisheries and aquaculture decision makers and to encourage in-country investments in fisheries and aquaculture. The Action also aims to foster a culture of consultation between fisheries and aquaculture Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and non-fisheries and aquaculture MDAs at the national and regional levels in order to raise awareness of the sector's importance among key government institutions such as finance, foreign or international affairs, planning, trade, and so on, as well as actors in other blue economy sectors.