In recognition of the role of stakeholder networks and platforms in contributing to inclusive and sustainable development on the continent, AU-IBAR and AUDA-NEPAD co-jointly held a Consultative workshop with the networks. The meeting aimed to validate the functional review and rationalisation of fisheries and aquaculture platforms and networks in Africa for anchorage, accountability and enhanced capacities in project implementation. The meeting was held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, from 26-28 September 2022.
The objectives of the meeting were to:
(i) Review and input into the proposed mechanisms for institutional anchorage platforms and networks to RECs and AU institutions and their proposed roles in AFRM and in the implementation of PFRS;
(ii) Validate the identified options for strengthening mechanisms for effective participation of these platforms and networks in policy development and implementation;
(iii) Ensure institutional anchorage and accountability at the relevant level, enhance their capacities and utilisation to implement identified activities/pilot projects;
(iv) Train rationalised platforms/networks to formalise institutional anchorage and enhance capacities on implementation of approved work plans, policies issues relevant to the Project
The networks and platforms as Non-State Actors generally aim to support harmonisation and coordination in the governance of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Africa. During the opening of the meeting, Hon. Mashimba Mashauri Ndaki (MP) Ndaki (MP), Minister for Livestock and Fisheries noted the importance of the platforms in promoting the fisheries and aquaculture value chains, which in turn was informed by the Africa Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM). Ms Francisca Gonah, on behalf of AU-IBAR Acting Director Dr Nick Nwankpa, noted that the “platforms and networks are facing different challenges. One of the key challenges is the formalisation and strengthening of governance instruments and strategic planning for effective operations. Phase two of the Fisheries Governance project (FisGov2), also funded by the European Union, has directed efforts towards rationalising, in other words, supporting them to improve their operations and become autonomous. Institutional anchorage is also promoted in these initial critical stages.” Read Full Opening Speech
Work towards supporting the platforms goes back to 2014 when a commitment on the facilitation of effective participation of non-state actors in fisheries and aquaculture in decision-making processes by the African Union, RECS and member States was made by the 2014 Joint Ministerial Conferences of African Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture. This initiative was followed by adopting the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture (PFRS), which prioritised the need for empowering non-state actors by formulating an advocacy strategy to ensure inclusion in fisheries management and decision-making process at all levels.
The workshop is a component of ongoing work under the general theme of Strengthening Stakeholders’ Engagement, Role and Consultative Mechanisms in the African Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector with the purposes to:
• Review and propose mechanisms for rationalisation of existing fisheries and aquaculture platforms and networks;
• Propose a framework for anchorage with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and relevant Regional Fisheries Organisations;
• Undertake mapping studies to conduct inventory of Non-State Actors in fisheries and aquaculture in Africa and upload into an online, user-friendly and updatable database;
In the above regard, AU-IBAR contracted the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI), Uganda, one of the African Union Centre of Excellence to conduct the studies was reviewed during the workshop.
The meeting was attended by Hon. Mashimba Mashauri Ndaki (MP), Minister for Livestock and Fisheries; FAO Representative in Tanzania, HE Ms Nyabenyi Tito Tipo; Representative of AUDA-NEPAD, Mr Cheikh Tidjane N’Dongo; Representatives of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Fisheries Institutions; Presidents and Members of the continental and Regional Non-State Actors platforms; President of the Policy Research Network for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PRNFAA), Media Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture (MOSFA) and Chair of the Africa Platform for Regional Institutions in Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Systems (APRIFAAS); Representative of the Women organisation (AWFISHNET); and Representative of the Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF), among other stakeholders.