15 Human rights, food security and nutrition and small-scale fisheries

The human-rights based approach (HRBA) and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines)

Organizers: FAO; OHCHR; IFAD; IPC Fisheries Working Group

 

Abstract

The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) were endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in 2014 after a participatory negotiation process. They represent a global consensus on small-scale fisheries governance and development and aim at enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to global food security and nutrition, supporting the full realization of the right to adequate food, and contributing to the equitable development of small-scale fishing communities. The side event will contribute to an experience sharing process on how to apply the human-rights based approach (HRBA) in the implementation of the SSF Guidelines. It aims at answering the following questions:

What are key entry points for applying the HRBA to enhance the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and

nutrition?

How can good practices of applying the HRBA be identified, documented and shared?

What are the roles and responsibilities of various actors, in particular States as duty-bearers, to apply the HRBA?

Main themes/issues discussed

In 2014 the CFS adopted recommendations on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition based on the related report of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE). Among these recommendations featured to promote and support the implementation of the ‘Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication’ (SSF Guidelines), with respect to food security and nutrition. The SSF Guidelines were endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in 2014 after a participatory development process. They represent a global consensus on small-scale fisheries governance and development. 

Already in 2014, the HLPE report on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition recognized that the contribution of the sector now and in the future is driven by many interactions between several environmental, development, policy and governance issues.

The SSF Guidelines aim at enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to global food security and nutrition, supporting  the  full realization of the right to adequate food, and contributing to the equitable development of small-scale fishing communities, based on a human rights-based approach empowering small-scale fishing communities to participate in decision-making processes, to assume responsibilities for sustainable use of fishery resources, holding duty-bearers accountable and placing emphasis on the needs of developing countries and of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in society.

Summary of key points

The side event was organized by FAO, UN OHCHR, IFAD and the IPC Fisheries Working Group. It contributed to a shared learning process on how to apply the human-rights based approach (HRBA) in the context of the SSF Guidelines and to enhance the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and nutrition. It aimed at identifying key challenges as well as possible solutions by answering the following questions:

  • What are key entry points for applying the HRBA to enhance the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and nutrition? 
  • How can good practices of applying the HRBA be identified, documented and shared? 
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of various actors, in particular states as duty-bearers to apply the HRBA? 

The panellists provided different perspectives.

It was stressed that states must comply with their obligations under international human rights treaties and assess policies, interventions and investments with direct and indirect links to fisheries and fishing communities in terms of their impacts on the right to adequate food and other related rights of the affected communities.  

The active and meaningful participation of fishing communities and fish workers in all decisions that impact their enjoyment of the right to food, and for the protection of the human rights and legitimate tenure rights over aquatic resources and adjacent land of food-insecure people, fishing communities and indigenous and tribal peoples also emerged as a crucial point. 

Key outcomes/take away messages

The SSF Guidelines provide an important tool for all stakeholders to take action in applying the HRBA in small-scale fisheries and the side event stressed the need to develop practical guidance for the various actors to support action.