Добровольные руководящие принципы обеспечения устойчивого маломасштабного рыболовства
в контексте продовольственной безопасности и искоренения бедности

What does FAO do to implement the SSF Guidelines?


In this interview, our senior fisheries consultant Ms Lena Westlund gives some insights into our work to support implementation of the SSF Guidelines around the world.

Ms Lena Westlund
Ms Lena Westlund © FAO/Asa Ljusenius

Lena, you and your colleagues in FAO work for and with small-scale fisheries organizations around the world. Can you give some examples of what you do?

– Absolutely. First of all, I would like to stress that we really focus on empowering and supporting small-scale fisheries organizations. This is an explicit part our work to implement the SSF Guidelines, and it is also in line with the recommendations in the SSF Guidelines themselves. Our aim with doing this is to increase representation and participation of small-scale fishers and fish workers in policy- and decision-making. They have a right to take part, to have a say in decisions that affect their lives and livelihood. We do what we can to help them claim that space.

To give an example, we support the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) Fisheries Working Group to be a clear voice speaking in the interest of small-scale fishers and fish workers at the global level. Whenever there are global or regional conferences, events or meetings about small-scale fisheries – in FAO or elsewhere – we stand ready to support them to participate. It has been natural for us to support them, as they are linked to many global, regional and national small-scale fisheries organizations around the world. Furthermore, FAO and IPC have a longstanding collaborative relationship.

Occasionally, we also support other representatives from small-scale fisheries to travel to and participate in meetings and conferences at global and regional levels [see, for example the side event at the CBD COP in 2016].

I would similarly like to mention our support to the regional African small-scale fisheries association CAOPA. We are currently assisting them with an in-depth capacity needs assessment, and we are usually contributing co-funding to help them organize annual meetings and World Fisheries Day celebrations. FAO also usually participates in celebrating World Fisheries Day with CAOPA.

You are also helping to establish new networks, platforms and frameworks to increase small-scale fisheries organizations' influence regionally, and globally. Can you give some insights into that work? 

– Yes, gladly. In FAO for instance, we are currently building a framework to support the implementation of the SSF Guidelines. This framework is a mechanism to highlight small-scale fisher folk's needs, opinions and ideas to FAO and others, and to give small-scale fisheries organizations, states, researchers, NGOs, civil society organizations and others a space to interact and collaborate. The IPC Fisheries Working Group and other actors in support of small-scale fisheries form part of this framework [see a description of the SSF-Global Strategic Framework here].

Another example deserving attention is our support to the African Union in their efforts to establish so called non-state actor platforms. Currently, non-state actor platforms exist or are under way in five sub-regions in Africa. There is also a pan-African network for women in fisheries, AWFISHNET.

And last year around this time, the Network of Small-Scale Fishers of the Indigenous Peoples of Central America was formed with support from FAO, the Central American Indigenous Council (CICA) and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (FILAC). This is important, since it is the first indigenous peoples' network focused on small-scale fisheries in Central America. The members come from Costa Rica, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.

To work for and with small-scale fisheries organizations, one first of all needs to know which organizations are out there. Can you give examples of FAO's works to map these organizations?

– I can. We have for instance supported mapping of women small-scale fisher and fish worker organizations in Tanzania, and we have helped establish a national women in fisheries network in the country. We have additional work planned in selected African countries starting in 2020 to in particular support women organizations in the postharvest sector.

Then we have worked with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and their SSF working group to map organizations in GFCM member countries. And we collaborate with Duke University to map organizations around the world.

Well, thank you so much Lena for giving some insight into your work. More information about the SSF Guidelines and how FAO is working to implement them is found on this website.

Ms Lena Westlund has worked for many years with small-scale fisheries in relation to food security, healthy ecosystem, poverty alleviation, gender equity, and institutional development. Promoting participatory and integrated approaches to development and fisheries management has been a key part of her work, and she was very much involved in the development of the SSF Guidelines. Lately, she has devoted most of her time and effort to FAO's work to implement the SSF Guidelines on global, regional and national levels.