Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication

The FAO SSF Umbrella Programme

Through the FAO Umbrella Programme for the promotion and application of the SSF Guidelines – Enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and sustainable livelihoods (FAO SSF Umbrella Programme), we raise awareness about challenges and opportunities in small-scale fisheries; we strengthen the science-policy interface by generating better information on small-scale fisheries; we empower small-scale fisher and fish worker organisations and increase governments’ knowledge, skills and capacity; and we support the implementation of the SSF Guidelines by creating an enabling environment.

Aiming for improved governance in small-scale fisheries
The FAO SSF Umbrella Programme is intended to host projects by multiple donors supporting the same overall goal and outcomes. The overall idea behind our programme is that improved governance of small-scale fisheries contributes to the eradication of hunger and poverty, to sustainable development and to the sustainable use of the environment.

The two main projects currently nested within the FAO SSF Umbrella Programme are Creating an enabling environment for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and Empowering women in small-scale fisheries for sustainable food systems funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

Partners and activities in multiple countries
We in FAO implement the Programme in collaboration with partners at global, regional and national level. Most of our work is focused on Africa and the Near East, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

We have so far supported activities to implement the SSF Guidelines in over 40 countries and in various global and regional forums. We are also right now, together with partners, conducting a comprehensive global study on the contribution of small-scale fisheries to sustainable development.

Working not only for, but with, small-scale fishers and fish workers is key in everything we do. We are therefore, among other things, supporting a Global Strategic Framework to help small-scale fishery actors, government representatives and other stakeholders collaborate effectively at a global level. One key objective of this partnership mechanism is to give small-scale fishers and fish workers an opportunity to advise others on how they would like to see the SSF Guidelines put into action.

A springboard to the Sustainable Development Goals
It is worth noting that the SSF Guidelines complement other global instruments and initiatives to achieve sustainable small-scale fisheries through a human rights-based approach – they are in fact the first internationally agreed instrument dedicated entirely to the small-scale fisheries sector. Implementing them can support achieving other objectives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, in particular SDG 14.b: to “provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets”.