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FAO’s Blue Hope Initiative launches in Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey

Photo: ©FAO/Economopoulis
Strengthening fisheries communities in Zarzis, Tunisia is one of the pilot activities of the new Blue Hope Initiative.
Photo: ©FAO/Hammi
Thirty stakeholders from Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey gathered in Tunis last week for the inception meeting of FAO’s Blue Hope Initiative.
Photo: ©FAO/Crespi
Fishing boats in the harbor at Bizerte, Tunisia.

Fisheries communities in the Mediterranean face various pressures, including limitations in fisheries governance, climate change and urban development, often exacerbated by poverty. Migration in the Mediterranean region has sharply increased in recent years, particularly among communities facing high levels of unemployment.

For many years, FAO has been working to build vibrant fisheries and coastal communities through its Blue Growth Initiative, with its emphasis on bolstering economic, environmental and social development that will benefit communities dependent on fisheries for their livelihoods. The Blue Hope Initiative builds upon these activities, emphasizing the important role productive fisheries activities can play in communities vulnerable to migration.

Last week, in Tunis, Tunisia, FAO’s new Blue Hope Initiative was officially launched for key communities in Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey. The project will be used to develop, in a participatory nature, territorial investment plans using the FAO Blue Growth Initiative approach to harness long term financing to make fisheries, aquaculture and associated value chains more productive and sustainable, more efficient and inclusive, and to reduce rural poverty. 

During the two-day inception dialogue in Tunis, stakeholders from the three countries worked with FAO to share experiences in sustainable development, including within the context of the blue economy, and express perspectives and priorities for the project. 

According to FAO’s Henry DeBey, the Lead Technical Officer for the Blue Hope project, “The Blue Hope project inception meeting was successful in offering an initial forum for countries bordering the Mediterranean who share many of the same challenges to compare notes on sustainable development of fisheries, aquaculture and their respective value chains and to begin to identify how they wish to shape this project and how FAO, through its varied expertise and instruments, can empower them to do so”.  The 30 stakeholders from Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey included government officials, researchers, fishermen, fisherfolk associations and aquaculture investors and are united by the common goal of strengthening their communities. 

“Although the investment plans developed through the project will be territorial in nature, mainly focused on specific territories within the countries, through the inception meeting participants asked for more interregional exchanges to compare their respective investment plans as they are developed, to maximize synergies in priority areas such as interests in pescatourism (sustainable fisheries-related tourism), value chain development, among others. We want to facilitate these kinds of exchanges and build lasting networks among these communities to sustain the impacts of this project.”

Following the two-day inception dialogue, Blue Hope activities will continue to be elaborated with the national governments and territorial communities of Gokova, Turkey, Bejraia, Algeria and the region around Djerba and Zarzis in Tunisia. 

Immediate next steps revolve around elaborating the work plan and methodology for developing the investment plan and determining how best to carry out initial diagnostics of the various sectors and stakeholders in the community areas. 

Photo: © FAO/Hammi
Group photo in Tunis, Tunisia at the opening of the Blue Hope Inception Meeting 4-5 October 2018.
Photo: © FAO/Hammi
Sea bass and sea bream fish farms in Porto Farina, Tunisia. Blue Hope activities identify strengthening fisheries, aquaculture and value chain activities.
Photo: © FAO/Hammi
Tunisian women at work at a seafood processing company. One of the requests from countries participating in the Blue Hope Initiative is for assistance in improving traceability along the seafood value chain.
Photo: © FAO/Amico
A fisherwoman at work in Gokova, Turkey.
Photo: © FAO/Amico
Gokova, Turkey is one of the pilot sites selected for the new Blue Hope initiative.
Photo: © FAO/Amico
Work on the Blue Hope Initiative gets underway.

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