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Norway, FAO to Strengthen Guidelines for Small-Scale Fisheries Sustainability

06 October 2015

GLOBAL - Tone Skogen, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO, signed an agreement that seeks to increase the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and sustainable livelihoods.

The signing of the cooperation agreement took place in the framework of the event Our Oceans, held in Chile. The funds ($1.8 million) will be used to support the implementation of the Voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines).

“The Norwegian government is proud to contribute to the overall effort to strengthen a sector that creates jobs, gives food security and protects ocean resources for present and future generations,” said Secretary of State Skogen.

“Small-scale fishing is a fundamental for hunger eradication and the promotion of sustainable development, two key aspects to meet the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the international community," said Mr Graziano da Silva.

"Global food security is a priority for Norway, and oceans are crucial in this regard. Healthy marine ecosystems and their sustainable and responsible use are of vital importance for oceans to continue to feed humans," said Ms Skogen.

Mr Graziano da Silva highlighted the role played by small scale fisheries in the production of healthy food for a growing population, through sustainable fishing practices which are compatible with the balance of aquatic ecosystems.

Small scale, great impact

The partnership between Norway and FAO will strengthen the SSF Guidelines, the first international instrument devoted entirely to small-scale fisheries.

"The guidelines for small-scale fisheries have been built through a broad and participatory human rights approach. Their implementation will help the sector to increase its contribution to food security and poverty eradication, but they must be firmly anchored at local and national level, with strong links to regional and international policies and strategies,” said Mr Graziano da Silva.

The SSF guidelines were adopted by FAO’s Committee on Fisheries in 2014 after an inclusive process which brought together more than 4000 representatives from 120 countries, including governments and organizations of small scale fishermen and workers.

The Guidelines are part of the Blue Growth Initiative, which seeks to restore the potential of the oceans and wetlands through the adoption of responsible and sustainable approaches to harmonize economic growth, food security and the conservation of aquatic resources.

An engine of local development

According to FAO, approximately 90 per cent of all people who depend directly on capture fisheries work in the small-scale fishing sector.

Many small-scale fishermen are autonomous and generally provide fish for direct consumption in their homes and sell their surpluses in their communities. As such, small scale fisheries serve as economic and social engines, providing food security and employment while supporting the livelihoods of their communities.

To support and strengthen these contributions, funds from the Norway-FAO agreement will be spent on four key areas:

  • Awareness: Both governments and stakeholders will be made aware of the SSF guidelines, through knowledge products and outreach, so they understand its principles and provisions and are able to apply them.
  • Strengthening the science-policy interface: The FAO-Norway will ensure that regional and local policies integrate the principles of the SSF Guidelines and that governments strengthen their policy frameworks for the sector.
  • Capacity building: capacities will be strengthened and institutional mechanisms will be fostered to implement the Guidelines and improve the livelihoods of the sector.
  • Coordination and monitoring: coordination among stakeholders will be fostered and a monitoring system will be established to promote the exchange of experiences and lessons learned in regard to the implementation of the SSF Guidelines.

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