Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 14.b.1 - Degree of application of a legal / regulatory / policy /institutional framework which recognizes and protects access rights for small-scale fisheries

The indicator is a composite indicator calculated on the basis of the efforts being made by countries to implement selected key provisions of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). This indicator measures the “access rights” aspect of the SDG Target 14.b.

Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.

Progress in the degree of implementation of international instruments to promote and protect small-scale fisheries, 2020

Impact

Together with the other indicators under SDG 14, it will form a picture of marine activity giving countries intelligence on optimum levels of fishing, aquaculture expansion and fair and secure access to living aquatic resources.

Key results

Increased support for small-scale fishers is critical in light of the coronavirus pandemic

As the world looks to the 2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, countries’ commitment to providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets is gaining traction. Small-scale fishers, who account for more than half of total capture production in developing countries, continue to be among the most marginalized food producers, beckoning the international community to take action. There is evidence that the COVID-19 crisis is adversely affecting their livelihoods as global demand for seafood dwindles and transportation restrictions prevent market access.

At the same time, these small-scale food producers fulfil a vital role to nourish those depending on the sector and local communities in the current crisis. It is more important than ever for countries to support small-scale fishers as key contributors to sustainable food systems. Such action can be informed by adopting specific initiatives to implement the internationally agreed Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, an internationally agreed instrument that promotes improved small-scale fisheries governance, including in value chains, post-harvest operations and trade, and which includes a dedicated chapter on Disaster Risks and Climate Change.

Since 2015, most regions have expanded the adoption of regulatory frameworks supporting small-scale fisheries and promoting participatory decision-making processes, including SIDS, where up to 70 percent of the people working in the fisheries sector are involved in small-scale fisheries. The average global score for SDG indicator 14.b.1 - a composite score of implementation of legal/regulatory/policy/institutional frameworks which recognize and protect access rights for small-scale fisheries - has moved from 3/5 in 2018 to 4/5 in 2020. At regional level, Northern Africa and Western Asia reflect this leap, while Central and Southern Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean reduced their regional score from 3/5 to 2/5 and from 4/5 to 3/5 respectively, highlighting that efforts need to be redoubled and that there is no room for complacency. The other regions remained stable at a score of 4/5.

Despite the overall improvement, some of the constituents of the composite score for SDG indicator 14.b.1 show less progress. One of these is the adoption of specific initiatives to implement the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries, which reflects the lowest commitment by countries, despite their ability to guide actions to protect small-scale fisheries, particularly in the current circumstances. Only about half the countries in the world have adopted specific initiatives to implement the Voluntary Guidelines. The lack of financial resources and organizational structures among small-scale fishers are critical constraints, compounded by limited public awareness of the importance of small-scale fisheries, as well as insufficient coordination among relevant national authorities.

Highlights

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