Pesca continental

Policy and legislative frameworks for co-management

Governance & policy

This paper was prepared to serve as background for a workshop on mainstreaming fisheries comanagement, held in Cambodia in August 2005. The paper examines the policy and legislative frameworks for co-management in thirteen countries in Asia and the Pacific, and the extent to which these frameworks hinder or support co-management practices. There are freshwater examples from  Bangladesh and  Cambodia and  recommendaiotns are generic to both freshwater and marine environments.

Political will is the key to the establishment of co-management mechanisms. It is a necessary prerequisite without which co-management initiatives are unlikely to succeed. It must be reflected in policy, legislation and action specific to the fisheries sector, as well as more generally in government policy and legislative support. However, many current co-management initiatives remain pilot efforts only, and are strongly driven and supported by donor projects. The nature of policy and legislative frameworks is varied, as is commitment by governments to co-management – in some cases support is more rhetoric than reality, with insufficient real transfer of powers and financial resources to local levels.

Through an analysis of the different case studies, ‘lessons learned’ are presented and a number of conclusions are drawn about the key characteristics of a supportive policy and legislative framework based on some ideas about ‘best practice’. The adoption of these characteristics by governments would demonstrate their commitment to co-management and increase the likelihood of co-management success.