Directives volontaires visant à assurer la durabilité de la pêche artisanale
dans le contexte de la sécurité alimentaire et de l'éradication de la pauvreté

Scaling up the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries and the SSF Guidelines – CFI training workshop for project staff and partners


Coastal and small-scale fisheries contribute significantly to the food security and nutrition of many millions of people in West Africa. By strengthening this crucial role, important headway can be made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Rome, 17 August 2021. The Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI) West Africa project, the EAF-NANSEN Programme and Mundus Maris teamed up on 2-5 August 2021 under the FAO SSF Umbrella Programme, with fisheries experts and stakeholders from countries across West Africa, to reinforce the importance of scaling up the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and promoting the application of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines)

Some 60 representatives from four West African nations, including the CFI beneficiary countries (Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal) as well as Gambia, gathered for a four-day training workshop to learn more about the EAF and the SSF Guidelines and how these instruments can be applied in their work towards securing sustainable coastal and small-scale fisheries, promoting people-centred approaches and improving the livelihoods of fishing communities.

Ensuring gender equity and sustainability in small-scale fisheries through the SSF Guidelines

The workshop focused on the SSF Guidelines that aim to ensure the sustainability of small-scale fisheries. These call, among other things, for the equal participation of women and men in organizations and in decision-making processes.

The CFI project has a particular emphasis on assisting women in value chains along with promoting the application of EAF for strengthening fisheries management. The SSF Guidelines is an important tool in this work as they promote a holistic and participatory approach combining the need for social and economic development with responsible fishing.

Over the course of the training, presentations and videos were delivered to explain the main features of the two approaches and participants shared their experiences. They also worked in breakout groups to discuss how the EAF and the SSF Guidelines apply to their work, including with regard to what a vision for EAF could look like, who the stakeholders are and how specific principles and SSF Guidelines paragraphs are relevant in their country and local contexts.  A session was dedicated to discussing gender equality and equity and the important but often invisible and disadvantaged role of women in the sector. 

Aligning EAF approach and the SSF Guidelines with the fishing communities’ needs

The participants recommended to initiate a series of trainings to familiarize these approaches for the benefit of fishing communities. They strongly suggested to pursue dialogue and collaboration across countries and partners. Continued efforts are also required to apply the EAF approach and the SSF Guidelines and have their principles properly integrated into how coastal and small-scale fisheries value chain governance and management are dealt with.

Attendees advocated the putting in place of an enabling environment with appropriate legislation, strong fisher and fish worker organisations effectively participating in decision-making, and capacity developed all around for ensuring the future sustainability of the livelihoods of the men and women working in coastal fisheries.