New investment initiative aims to improve fisheries management and reduce poverty in Africa
The new funding scheme is the first of its kind
16 May 2006, Nairobi/Rome – A new partnership aimed at restoring depleted fisheries and reducing poverty in Africa was launched today by the African Union (AU), the World Bank, WWF – the Global Conservation Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
This partnership includes a commitment of US$60 million from the Global Environment Facility which is to be matched 3-1 in funds from other donors for a total of approximately US$240 million over the next ten years. The new funding scheme is the first of its kind focussed on sustainable fisheries in the large marine ecosystems of Africa and will work to reduce poverty in coastal communities and curtail overfishing of marine resources.
The funding will be used to assist countries' efforts to better manage their marine fisheries and improve the living conditions of fishing communities. Community-driven management programmes, monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries, marine protected areas and developing alternative livelihoods to fishing are among the activities eligible for support through the fund.
The World Bank, FAO and WWF, through an extensive consultative process with stakeholders, have over the last two years designed the investment fund and promoted the partnership with the African Union and coastal countries that underpins it. The African Union will chair an advisory committee that includes regional fisheries management organizations and which will oversee the fund and partnership activities.
Fish vital for food security
Fish already make a vital contribution to the food and nutritional security of 200 million Africans and provides income for over 10 million mostly small-scale fishers, farmers and entrepreneurs engaged in fish production, processing and trade. In addition, fish has become a leading export commodity for Africa, with an annual export value of US$ 2.7 billion.
To maintain and further enhance the contribution of fisheries to food security and poverty reduction, the new Sustainable Fisheries Investment Fund will, over the next ten years, seek to restore depleted fisheries and significantly improve the livelihoods of coastal communities in Africa
“This Strategic Partnership will support African countries to improve the livelihoods of millions of Africans in the fisheries sector and contribute to the African Union’s vision of 'an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa',” said Ms. Rosebud Kurwijila, the African Union's Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture.
“We commend the Global Environment Facility for this massive support for fisheries conservation,” said WWF-US Vice-President Bill Eichbaum. “We look forward to working with our partners and governments in Sub-Saharan Africa to build healthy marine ecosystems that support coastal communities."
“The World Bank and GEF are committed to working with the coastal countries in Africa to help improve the livelihoods of rural fishing communities and the health of the fish stocks they depend on," Francois Le Gall, Lead Livestock Specialist for the Africa Region of the World Bank, added. "We are looking forward to a long partnership with the AU, FAO and WWF in this effort.”
"FAO also welcomes this concerted effort with our partners," said Ichiro Nomura, head of FAO's Fisheries Department. "By helping countries build more responsible and sustainable fisheries, this fund will help reduce poverty and improve food security in the region, benefiting millions of the world's most vulnerable people."
Kumunya Mugo, Communications Manager
(+254) 2038 773 55
George Kourous, Information Officer
(+39) 06 570 53168
(+39) 348 141 6802
African Union (Addis Ababa)
Christiane Yanrou, Information Official
(+251) 11 551 7700, ext. 242
World Bank (Washington, DC)
Herbert Yusimbom Boh, Commmunications Officer
(+1) 202 473 3548
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