Navigating Success: Empowering Non-State Actors in Fisheries & Aquaculture through Strategic Planning

Sun, 13-08-2023 15:00:00

In a joint effort to enhance the capacity of regional Non-State Actors (NSAs) platforms in their drive-in community interests, enhancing coordination & shaping policies in the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector, AU-IBAR, AUDA-NEPAD, with the valuable support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is set to host a comprehensive Training and Consultative Workshop on Strategic Planning. Scheduled from the 14th to the 18th of August 2023, the workshop will take place in Naivasha, Kenya.

The overarching aim of this training and consultative gathering is to bolster the strategic planning capabilities of regional NSA platforms. The objectives encompass several key aspects:

•    Formalization and Registration: One of the primary goals is to extend support to chosen sub-regional NSA platforms to facilitate their formalization and subsequent registration with the appropriate competent authorities.
•    Tailored Technical Assistance: The workshop intends to provide focused, needs-based technical aid to selected regional and national NSA networks, aiding them in the development of robust strategic action plans.
•    Advocacy and Policy Influence: An essential facet of the workshop involves supporting communication and advocacy endeavors that will actively shape national and regional policies.
•    Guidelines and Policy Briefs: With a forward-looking perspective, the workshop will generate policy briefs and guidelines, offering a foundation for the advocacy and encouragement of formal establishment and strategic planning for NSA platforms.

The workshop is poised to yield significant outcomes, all aligned with the aforementioned objectives:
•    Enhanced Regional Capacities: Participants from various regional NSA platforms will emerge equipped with a deeper understanding of strategic planning principles, fostering better decision-making and collaboration.
•    Official Recognition: By extending aid for formalization and registration, the workshop aims to see regional NSA platforms acknowledged and registered by competent authorities.
•    Influential Advocacy Strategies: Delegates will work on devising effective communication and advocacy strategies, positioning themselves to influence policies at both national and regional levels.
•    Foundational Policy Documentation: The anticipated policy briefs and guidelines will serve as essential tools in advocating for the formal establishment and strategic planning of NSA platforms.
The workshop will host a diverse array of participants, including representatives from regional NSA platforms in the fields of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The event will also welcome the expertise of Prof. Mafa Hara, an Independent Expert, along with pertinent members of staff from AU-IBAR and FAO. The workshop's execution will be grounded in a meticulously designed methodology. It will incorporate a combination of technical presentations, expert training sessions, and interactive discussions, all facilitated by AU-IBAR.

For the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa (PFRS), the primary focus is on empowering small-scale fisheries to address poverty, improve food security, and uplift fishing communities. This framework highlights the importance of Non-State Actors (NSAs) in shaping fisheries management and decision-making at national, regional, and continental levels, echoing the inclusion drive set forth in the Second conference of African Ministers of fisheries and aquaculture (CAMFA II) in 2014. Supported by key strategies such as the African Union 2063's Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES) and the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM) serves as a pivotal continental partnership platform. 

AFRM, backed by AU-IBAR, AUDA-NEPAD, and FAO, has led to the establishment of regional NSA platforms (WANSAFA, PRAPAC, EARFISH, SANSAFA) and subsequently the creation of the Pan-African Platform of NSAs in Fisheries and Aquaculture (AFRIFISH-Net) within the framework of the FishGov 2 Project, with funding from the Eropean Union. These NSAs are vital in representing the interests of fishing communities, improving coordination, and contributing to the formulation of regional and continental policies. To excel in their policy coordination role, strategic planning is a fundamental necessity for these platforms.

As AU-IBAR and FAO join hands to realize this empowering initiative, the Workshop on Strategic Planning with Regional Non-State Actors Platforms in Fisheries and Aquaculture stands as a beacon of knowledge, collaboration, and progress. The outcomes of this event hold the promise of amplifying the influence and effectiveness of these important non-state actors in shaping the future of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors across the region.