The overall objective of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) is to support public authorities of coastal states to improve their own systems for collating and publishing information on the fisheries sector online in a complete and accessible manner. At the heart of the initiative is the FiTI Standard. It describes what information on marine fisheries should be published online by public authorities, organized into 12 transparency requirements.
In order to implement the FiTI, a country’s National Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) must produce annual FiTI Reports that provide an assessment on the availability, accessibility and completeness of this requested information. However, if national authorities are unable to publish information because they genuinely do not have it, the FiTI asks that the National MSG considers how these information gaps can be addressed and over what time frame. This is referred to in the FiTI Standard as achieving “progressive improvements”.
The FiTI Report is not just a means to verify if the country is compliant with the FiTI Standard—it is not simply a technical report to achieve compliant status for the county. Rather, it is the intention of the FiTI that these annual reports will also achieve three main benefits for implementing countries:
- Providing a succinct summary of the information related to the transparency requirements to assist with public understanding and policy debates
- Communicating recommendations made by the National MSG for progressive improvements in public access to information, and tracking achievements
- Establishing the extent to which public information on the fisheries sector is regarded as credible
A country’s National MSG must appoint a Report Compiler, tasked with compiling the information on the transparency requirements set forth in section B.1 of the FiTI Standard. The role of the Report Compiler is critical to the success of the FiTI at the national and international level. Their role is to work collaboratively with the National MSG and support them in fulfilling their duty of producing an annual FiTI Report in accordance with the FiTI Standard.
A Guidance Note has been published to support Report Compilers in producing annual reports on behalf of the FiTI National MSG. This Guidance Note does not introduce requirements in addition to the FiTI Standard, but instead provides further information on a range of aspects relevant to completing the tasks expected of them. For example, when producing regular FiTI Reports according to section B.2 of the FiTI Standard, the National MSG must follow six steps:
Also, the Guidance Note elaboartes on four key concepts that the FiTI Standard makes reference to in order to assist Report Compilers in assessing compliance with the 12 transparency requirements.
Furthermore, the Guidance Note outlines how to anticipate and respond to challenges in the compilation of the FiTI Report, describes mandatory chapters of an FiTI Report, outlines detailed guidance on the assessment of each transparency requirement and provides sample Terms of Reference (ToR) for Report Compilers.
The Guidance Note is currently available in English, but will be provided in French by September 2019.