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For FAO’s member states and governing bodies the significance of climate change issues was also reflected strategically in the 2009 FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) session, where a number of members shared information and experiences regarding climate change and fisheries and aquaculture and in particular indicated the need for:

  • Capacity building to increase the resilience of fishing communities
  • Reduction of energy consumption in fisheries and aquaculture
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the fisheries sector
  • Increased funding of research with a particular focus on the situation in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
  • Increased support of the work of FAO on Climate Change in fisheries and aquaculture
  • By focusing on herbivorous species aquaculture can provide nutritious food with a low carbon footprint

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department’s programme to address climate change

The FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, along with the Global Partnership Climate, Fisheries and Aquaculture (PaCFA), support raising awareness on these issues to promote a coordinated response from the fisheries and aquaculture sector to climate change, notably through a strategic approach to maintain or enhance the health and resilience of global oceans and waters, and strengthening the capacity of dependent people and communities, integrating these closely into broader development strategies.

Last December, government leaders, negotiators, scientists and NGOs, among others, met at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban(known as COP-17) to find agreement on the challenges of climate change – including its implications for fisheries and aquaculture, oceans and aquatic ecosystems.

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department participated in several key COP-17 events and will continue to participate in upcoming meetings, discussions and fora on global climate change.

Implementing adaptation and mitigation pathways for communities dependent on fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic ecosystems will need increased attention from policy-makers and planners. Sustainable and resilient aquatic ecosystems benefit not only the fishers and coastal communities but also provide goods and services at national and global levels, for example, through improved food security and conservation of biodiversity.

In the light of the foregoing a strategic approach and programme framework is defined below and is in turn aligned with the Department’s strategic and organizational objectives for the sector. It is also linked with the PaCFA framework, which provides an overarching structure for wider partnership-based development goals associated with climate change, fisheries and aquaculture.

The goal of the programme is to enable people, communities and states to meet their social and development objectives effectively while responding to the additional challenges imposed by climate change on fisheries and aquaculture.

The purpose of the programme is to support member states and partners to mitigate and adapt effectively to the impacts of climate change for fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic ecosystems, through policy development, knowledge development and exchange, normative outputs, practical demonstration, and capacity building.

The key operational objectives outputs and proposed activities of the programme for the 2011-2016 period are to:

  • Set up and develop global, regional and local climate change action partnerships , across public, private, community and NGO sectors to support regional and subregional cooperation and to develop inter-regional and global policy and management initiatives within the sector.
  • Establish the knowledge base for local, national and international policy development for climate change and the fisheries and aquaculture sector; specifically to raise awareness of the importance of the sector with respect to climate change mitigation and adaptation, its contribution to Millennium Development Goals, the vulnerability of its communities at various scales, and the ways in which climate change responses can be developed.
  • Identify and develop the fisheries and aquaculture sector’s climate change mitigation actions at global, regional and national levels, support their implementation within and across the sectors, and identify resources to support prioritized actions.
  • Identify and promote effective climate change adaptation strategies within fisheries and aquaculture sector development frameworks at global, regional and national levels, and identify resources to support prioritized actions at all levels.
  • Establish lesson-learning and capacity-building processes with partners to establish more effective climate change and sectoral knowledge and response through specific tools, such as the development of strategies and best practices.
  • Develop and implement a communication strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation for a range of audiences and develop a coordinated approach to global planning and feedback.


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