Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries

in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication

The project was designed as a continuation of the “Empowering women in small-scale fisheries for sustainable food systems” - NORAD project - aiming to contribute not only to gender equality and equity and enhancement of the post-harvest sector, but also to include and develop more sustainable and climate resilient livelihoods and food systems. 

This FMM funded project will support small-scale fisheries (SSF) and the implementation of the SSF Guidelines with a particular focus on gender issues, the post-harvest sector, and sustainable food systems in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Namibia, Madagascar, Malawi, Sierra Leone, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda) and in Asia (the Philippines and Indonesia).

All parties should avoid post-harvest losses and waste and seek ways to create value addition, building also on existing traditional and local cost-efficient technologies, local innovations and culturally appropriate technology transfers. 
§7.5 SSF Guidelines

The SSF Guidelines are intended to support the visibility, recognition and enhancement of the already important role of small-scale fisheries and to contribute to global and national efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty. They support responsible fisheries and sustainable social and economic development for the benefit of current and future generations, with an emphasis on small- scale fishers and fish workers and related activities and including vulnerable and marginalized people, promoting a human rights-based approach.

All parties should recognize that achieving gender equality requires concerted efforts by all and that gender mainstreaming should be an integral part of all small-scale fisheries development strategies.
§8.1 SSF Guidelines.

This project uses an innovative approach to transformative change combining the communication of evidence-based information on the contribution of fish and small-scale fisheries – particularly contributions from women in the SSF post-harvest sector– to livelihoods and food security and nutrition with capacity building and promotion of best practices. It addresses critical gaps with regard to working conditions, fish loss and waste, poor and lacking infrastructures, deficient social protection systems, insecure access to fish/fishery resources, the need for improved nutrition in SSF communities (in particular for school children), and work to strengthen SSF and women representation in decision-making processes.

Intended impact of the project

In accordance to chapter 9 of the SSF Guidelines, which recognizes the need for an integrated and holistic approach, in order to address risks and climate change, the intended impact of the project is to reduce poverty and improve food security and nutrition through more gender-equitable and climate resilient small-scale fisheries livelihoods and food systems. Its outcome statement is that Countries adopt policies and support practices in small-scale fisheries value chains and livelihoods that are more sustainable, inclusive and resilient to climate change and contribute to food security and nutrition.

To know more, access the countries’ dedicated pages

Relevant publications
Mapping women’s small-scale fisheries organizations in Indonesia: Results from assessing current capacities, gaps and opportunities to strengthen women’s organizations in the sector

The report provides a national overview of women's small-scale fisheries (SSF) organizations, defined as formal and informal organizations engaged in...

Post-harvest practices for empowering women in small-scale fisheries in Africa

This report provides a summary of key findings from a desk review and primary data research that has aimed to identify successful post-harvest initiatives...

Gender and food loss in sustainable fish value chains in Africa

Food losses are a major concern and occur in most fish distribution chains worldwide. Not only do losses constitute lost income to fishers, processors,...

Implementing the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines for gender-equitable and climate-resilient food systems and livelihoods

This document provides a summary of the presentations, discussions, conclusions and recommendations of the workshop for the FAO Flexible Multi-partner...

National Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries 2022-2026 (NPOA-SSF)

The NPOA-SSF is developed against the backdrop of the Global FAO Umbrella Programme “enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security...

Why the gender transformative approach is critical to achieving more equitable and resilient small-scale fisheries in sub-Saharan Africa

This issue brief aims to highlight the benefits of adopting the gender transformative approach (GTA) in small-scale fisheries (SSF) projects and initiatives...

Mapping women’s small-scale fisheries organizations in the Philippines: Results from assessing current capacities, gaps and opportunities to strengthen women´s organizations in the sector

The report provides a national overview of women's small-scale fisheries (SSF) organizations, defined as formal and informal organizations engaged in...


Written by: Patrick Kimani, Ansen Ward and Manoela Militão de Siqueira

A series of training videos have been created to promote peer-to-peer learning on improved post-harvest practices. Post-harvest practices refer to activities such as handling, process...


The Government of Malawi, through the Department of Fisheries, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), launched Malawi’s National Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (2023-2030).