A key deliverable for AU-IBAR and AUDI-NEPAD as joint implementers of the Fisheries Governance 2 Project (2021-2025) is strengthening the operationalization of fisheries networks and regional fisheries bodies for effective participation of stakeholders in policy development and implementation. Within that context, AU-IBAR and AUDI-NEPAD facilitated the third General Assembly of the African Platform for Regional Institutions in Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Systems (APRIFAAS) on 28-29 September 2021. The meeting was attended by over 30 institution executive secretaries or representatives from Regional Economic Communities, Regional Fisheries Bodies, Water Based Commissions & Large Marine Ecosystems.
The general assembly programme comprised an opening session with opening speeches from AUDI-NEPAD and AU-IBAR. The technical sessions over the two days included information sharing sessions by the AU and RECs on ‘’generating synergies - information sharing on activities and work plans 2021-2021’. Presentations on activities and work plans for the period 2021 to 2022 were also made by the Specialized Regional Institutions such as the Regional Fisheries Commission for the Gulf of Guinea. The meeting was also given a presentation on the recently developed online community platform to enhance knowledge sharing and engagement at all levels (national, regional and continental).
The landmark of the event involved the election of five new bureau members to serve for a two-year tenure. The APRIFAAS new bureau comprises its Chair, 1st Vice-Chair, 2nd Vice-Chair, Rapporteur and 2nd Rapporteur. These positions are held by: Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation Among African States Bordering the Atlantic (ATLAFCO/COMHAFAT- North Africa, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), East Africa; Regional Fisheries Commission for the Gulf of Guinea (COREP) – Central Africa; Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – West Africa; and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), respectively.
In support of Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa objectives, and within the framework of the AFRM, the first phase of the European Union-funded project FishGov 1, created APRIFAAS within the framework of the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism. The Platform comprises f RECs, RFBs and other regional institutions and is aimed at enhancing coordination in activities between these regional institutions.
So far, the existence of APRIFAAS has made an impact in enhancing coordination between regional fisheries institutions by way of information sharing and mutual participation in activities by the regional institutions.
Picture: @Zamcom (Zambezi WaterCourse)