The Fisheries Transparency Initiative continued its discussion on transparency requirements, when its International Advisory Group met at the headquarters of the FAO in Rome to advance work begun at a first meeting in Berlin.
The meeting was prepared and conducted by the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform (acting as the Secretariat for the initiative) and kindly hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“We are delighted to meet here at the headquarters of the FAO, which is a key driver of reforms in fisheries,” Sven Biermann, interim program director of the FiTI said.
The one-day event gathered more than 30 representatives, including representatives from the Governments of Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mauritania and the Seychelles — who already attended the 1st meeting in Berlin. The Secretariat also welcomed a representative from the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to FAO at the discussion table.
In line with the inclusive process of the FiTI, the meeting also brought together representatives from International Institutions, businesses, civil society organizations and Academia. These included inter alia the European Union, FAO, GIZ, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and World Bank, Cepesca, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, Greenpeace, Oceana, Mauritania 2000, Coalition for Fair Fisheries Agreements, etc.).
The meeting was opened by Mr. Audun Lem, Deputy Director of the Policy and Economics Division at the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, who welcomed the mission of the FiTI to enhance responsible and sustainable fisheries. The objectives of the FiTI, he declared, are in line with the own goals of the FAO.
In fact, the need for transparency and participation is central to the guidelines and directives of the FAO, inter alia the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (FAO; 2012) and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (FAO; 2015).
Mr. Lem also expressed his delight to see Mauritania taking a leading position in this initiative, a role that the Mauritanian Minister for Economic Affairs and Development H.E. Sid’Ahmed Raïss confirmed in his welcome remarks: “At the end of the upcoming 1st International Conference of the FiTI, once the principles of the initiatives are defined, Mauritania will disclose publicly its commitment to engage in the FiTI process”, H.E. Sid’Ahmed Raïss said.
The discussions were then opened after it was reemphasized that the FiTI should focus initially on access to marine fisheries in countries EEZs.
Following detailed discussions on transparency elements that the FiTI could target (the meeting report will soon be available), participants also discussed about other challenges that need to be considered when defining the FiTI Standard. This included amongst others the costs of the reporting process, finding a practically-feasible way to gather information from artisanal and small-scale fisheries and the issue of confidentiality clauses in certain arrangements.
It is therefore in order to address the challenges of collecting and verifying information from small-scale fisheries that it was decided to establish a Working Group.
The meeting concluded with the announcement of H.E. Minister that the 1st International Conference of the FiTI, scheduled for 14 December 2015 in Mauritania, would be moved to early February 2016 in order to accommodate the requests from various senior officials to attend this important event. The date of the Conference was now scheduled for February 3rd.
The next Advisory Group meeting will be organized on Wednesday, February 4th 2016 in Mauritania, directly following the international conference.
For more detailed information on the meeting please refer to the meeting report (only available in English).