A dialogue meeting was held between the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the AUDA-NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), and the Regional Economic Communities from 28th November, 2021 to 1st December, 2021. The three leading implementers of the Fisheries Governance 2 Project met to develop and establish a mechanism for regular dialogue on emerging issues of the Fisheries Governance project phase two (FishGov2) Project and sensitize the RECs on their potential role in the project. The meeting under the support from the European Union was attended by twenty-two participants, who included AU-IBAR and AUDI-NEPAD staff, two representatives from six RECs; namely: ECOWAS, UMA, EAC, COMESA, ECCAS, and SADC.
The RECs delivered presentations that touched on the background information of their establishment, statistics, and role of fisheries and aquaculture in the regions, guiding sectoral, regional policy and regulations, fisheries and aquaculture projects and activities in their regions.
The RECs play a pivotal role as an interface between continental initiatives and the AU member states. Speaking during the opening session of the meeting on behalf of the AU-IBAR Director, Mrs. Patricia Lumba echoed the need for regular dialogue with the RECs to ensure that all parties are on the same level of information as the activities of the project are being rolled out. It also provides opportunities for the RECs to give feedback and recommendations and for AU-IBAR to convey them to the donor, i.e., the European Union.
In addition, Mr. Clement Adjorlolo, who spoke on behalf of Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, the CEO of the AUDA-NEPAD reminded delegates that RECs are forefront in the implementation of AU Decisions, including CAADP and PFRS agenda, as well as acting as entry point for AUDA-NEPAD and our key partners to their Member States.
In addition to the workshop exploring mechanisms for establishing regular dialogue on emerging issues of the FishGov2 and sensitization of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on their potential role for the project, other sessions of the workshop included:
i. Developing and agreeing on a mechanism for regular dialogue on issues of the project
ii. Presenting the FishGov 2 project activities and work plan
iii. Sharing activities and identifying areas for collaboration
iv. Developing modalities for implementing some activities in the Action
The meeting, among others came up with the following outcomes:
1. Information was shared on the FishGov2 Project Activities in the following areas;
a. Project Activities and implementation Mechanisms
b. The Roles of RECs in supporting the implementation
c. Communication and visibility as well as Monitoring and Evaluation of the Project
2. The RECs also shared information on their respective Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Blue Economic activities.
3. Expert’s information and perspectives on enhancing linkages and cooperation in Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy in Africa was also shared.
4. Issues in regional cooperation, collaboration with regards to AU-IBAR/AUDA-NEPAD in projects, programmes related to Fisheries Aquaculture and Blue Economy were identified, their challenges enumerated, and solutions proffered as recommendations for each of the identified issues.
5. The meeting provided an excellent forum for the RECs to interact amongst themselves, share ideas, enhance communication between them for knowledge and awareness of each other’s activities, and brainstorm effective ways to move the sector forward individually and collectively.
The implementing agencies will prepare a comprehensive Work plan for 2022 and share it before the next dialogue meeting in the First Quarter of 2022. Additionally, there was a proposal to consider and brainstorm a mechanism for establishing a platform of RECs on Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Blue Economy for more effective and productive dialogues in the sector. The meeting in pictures: RECS present on role of fisheries and aquaculture in their region.
Above: COMESA: Dr. Yoseph Mamo
Above: EAC: Dr. David Baliukowa
Above: UMA: Dr. Faouzia Chakiri Boulouiz
Above: ECOWAS: Dr. Ibrahim Sylla
Above: SADC: Dr Gaolethe Thobokwe
Above: ECCAS: Dr, Baschirou Moussa Demsa on behalf of Mr Emmanuel SABUNI