Honouring 10 Years of African Fisheries Development: The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) Commemoration

Honouring 10 Years of African Fisheries Development: The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) Commemoration

Honouring 10 Years of African Fisheries Development: The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) Commemoration

Honouring 10 Years of African Fisheries Development: The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) Commemoration

The African Union (AU) commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa at the 36th Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI). The event took place on July 9, 2024, at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

The United Republic of Tanzania’s Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Abdallah H. Ulega, delivered a statement at the 36th Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI-36) – High-Level Event taking stock on 10 years of the voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). He expressed gratitude to FAO for its commitment to supporting the implementation of the SSF Guidelines through continued collaboration with all stakeholders, including governments, African Union, small-scale fishers, fish workers, civil society organizations, research and academia, private sector, and donor community.

He noted that the SSF Guidelines were endorsed by the 31st Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI-31) in 2014 as the first internationally agreed instrument dedicated entirely to the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries sector. Today, the 10th anniversary of the SSF Guidelines is an opportunity to assess its impact, share good practices on its implementation, and confirm the way forward in the context of Blue Transformation.

In his remarks, he noted that Africa also marks the 10th anniversary of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Africa’s Fisheries and Aquaculture (PFRS), developed through a broad participatory process and endorsed in 2014 by African Heads of States and Governments. The PFRS serves as a blueprint for ensuring the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, and AU-IBAR, in collaboration with AUDA NEPAD, will hold a side event to reflect on the past, present, and future through the lens of PFRS and the African Union Agenda 2063.

It was further elaborated that Africa has actively supported the establishment of organizations to unite women in the small-scale fisheries value chain, recognizing their significant role in harvesting, processing, and trading. These organizations provide a platform for women to voice concerns, share best practices, and advocate for policies that support their rights and contribute to the sector. Africa has also played a leading role in hosting the first-ever African continent Small-Scale Fisheries Summit, attended by over 470 delegates from 33 AU Member States, Government Representatives, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders. The Summit urged member states to domesticate the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, prepare and implement National Plans of Action for SSF Guidelines, facilitate a participatory reflection and review of the PFRS implementation, continue promoting and resourcing SSF through high-level policy dialogues, and facilitate a mechanism for identifying member states interested in hosting the Africa SSF Summit every two years.

Background 
Fisheries and aquaculture play a crucial role in Africa’s development, significantly contributing to GDP, livelihoods, and food security. The sector’s gross value-added is estimated at USD 21 billion, making up 1.26% of Africa’s GDP. By 2063, fisheries and aquaculture are projected to employ 17.7 million people. Small-scale fisheries, which account for over 60% of Africa’s fisheries production, are vital for human consumption and rural livelihoods.

The AU’s interventions in this sector are guided by the PFRS, a blueprint endorsed by African Heads of State and Government in 2014 to improve governance, food security, and wealth creation. The PFRS aligns with the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), envisioning an inclusive and sustainable blue economy for Africa’s transformation and growth.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the PFRS. Commemorative activities include the Africa Regional Small-Scale Fisheries Summit held in June in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the 36th COFI Session in Rome. These events highlight the PFRS’s role in guiding decision-making and fostering consistency in Africa’s fisheries, aquaculture, and blue economy.

Rationale
The AU, through AU-IBAR and AUDA-NEPAD, implemented the FishGov1 Project from 2014 to 2018, funded by the European Union. This project aimed to enhance governance in fisheries and aquaculture by aligning national and regional policies with the PFRS. FishGov1 supported several AU Member States in policy alignment, promoting sector coordination and coherence.

Currently, the FishGov2 Project continues this work, supporting sustainable fisheries management and aquaculture development in Africa. The project targets enhancing food security, livelihoods, and wealth creation, aligning policies with the PFRS, and ensuring Africa’s effective participation in international forums.

The workshop highlighted the PFRS’s influence on decision-making and sector development, raising socio-economic awareness, updating delegates on AU interventions, and sharing best practices. The meeting hosted up to 100 delegates from AU Member States and the international community attending the 36th COFI in Rome. The agenda included presentations, interactive discussions, and engagements on key issues, and the distribution of publicity and communication materials. This commemorative event underscores the AU’s commitment to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development, celebrating a decade of progress and planning for future achievements in alignment with the PFRS and AU Agenda 2063.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).