A virtual stakeholder consultative workshop on operationalizing the revised African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM) was organized by AU-IBAR in collaboration with the Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA)-NEPAD on the 11-12 August 2021. The meeting was organised under the second phase of the Fisheries Governance project (FishGov 2), with support from the European Union (EU).
In addition to AU-IBAR and AUDA-NEPAD staff, forty-five people comprising AU Member States, Regional Economic Communities, Representatives of AU Centres of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture, Independent Experts Bodies, Development and Technical Partners (EU, IOC); Regional Platform of Non-State Actors (SANSAFA, EARFISH); Women Organization (AWFISHNET); and Regional Fisheries Projects (ECOFISH, PESCAO/ECOWAS).
The meeting discussed several issues in line with the meeting objectives, which included:
(i) rationalizing the AFRM working groups; review and revise the current terms of reference and criteria for membership composition
(ii) reviewing the functions of the Think tank Executive Committee, the Advisory Council, and the criteria for membership
(iii) sharing the draft terms of reference for the Sectoral Committee on fisheries and aquaculture
(iv) reviewing proposals on integrating a platform for coordinating interventions within the architecture of AFRM, and
(v) discussing the proposed resource mobilization strategy for effective operationalization and sustainability of the revised AFRM.
By the end of the meeting, the AFRM working groups were reviewed, revised, and adopted the Terms of Reference and criteria for membership composition, membership, and the Sectoral Committee on fisheries and aquaculture. Additionally, the think tank reviewed and adopted the proposals on integrating a platform for coordinating interventions within the architecture of AFRM and the Resource Mobilization Strategy for effective Operationalization and sustainability of the revised AFRM.
Although the meeting realized several outcomes, several recommendations were proposed for the effective operationalization of the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism. Notably are:
• A need for a dedicated unit at AU-IBAR to help with resource mobilization of AFRM
• Develop a comprehensive Business plan for the AFRM
• Promote periodic fundraising activities such as mobilize private sector in fish related business to support fisheries and aquaculture in Africa
• Pay attention to the vision of AU MS and relevant international instruments.
• Implement robust Monitoring and Evaluation
• A need for a dedicated communication officer and need to provide resources
• Establish a mechanism for South-South cooperation, alignment with UN Agencies, and foster PPP at the state level.