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The history

The Global Conference on Small-Scale Fisheries – Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries: Bringing together responsible fisheries and social development, co-organized by FAO and the Royal Government of Thailand and convened in collaboration with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and The WorldFish Center in Bangkok in 2008 reinforced the claim that small-scale fisheries have yet to fully realize their potential to significantly contribute to sustainable development and the attaining of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The conference reaffirmed that human rights are critical to achieving sustainable development and called for an international instrument on small-scale fisheries.

In considering the outcome of that Conference at the 28th Session of COFI in 2009, many FAO Members expressed the need for an international instrument on small-scale fisheries that would guide national and international efforts to secure sustainable small-scale fisheries and create a framework for monitoring and reporting.

In October 2010 FAO convened three regional workshops for Africa, Asia and Pacific, and Latin America and Caribbean to consult with national and regional stakeholders, both from governments and civil society, to identify good practices in the governance of small-scale fisheries and to provide their views on how small-scale artisanal fisheries can be best supported and enabled to fulfill their potential. The consultative process was intended to result in a high level of ownership of a possible international instrument by national and regional stakeholders, as recommended in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The potential of a new instrument to strengthen the social pillar of sustainable development in a gender-sensitive manner and to effectively complement the CCRF within a framework of a human rights-based development framework was well recognized by the regional workshops.

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