The workshop to formally establish a regional platform of non-state actors (NSAs) in West Africa was jointly organized by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) and the Government of the Republic of Togo from 19-21 September 2016, in Lomé, Republic of Togo.The overall objective of this regional workshop was to create and formalize the establishment of a recognised regional platform for active non-state actors in West Africa that are involved in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the region.
The workshop was attended by 36 representatives of Non State Actors actively involved in fisheries and aquaculture sector from the following 13 West African Union Member States (AU MS): namely Benin, Burkina Faso; Côte d’Ivoire; The Gambia; Guinea-Bissau; Guinea; Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal; Sierra Leone and Togo; Regional Non State Actors included Réseau sur les Politiques de Pêches en Afrique de l’Ouest (REPAO), Association Ouest Africaine pour le Développement de la Pêche Artisanale (ADEPA/WADAF), African Confederation of Small-scale Fisheries Professional Organisations (CAOPA), Partenariat Régional pour la Conservation de la zone Côtière et Marine en Afrique de l'Ouest (PRCM/UICN) and ROPPA/COFPAO. Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) included Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and Commission Sous Régionale des Pêches (CSRP) as well as AU-IBAR and NEPAD Agency staff members.
The opening ceremony was marked by three statements from the representatives of AU-IBAR, NEPAD Agency and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Water, Republic of Togo.
The Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Republic of Togo, Dr Domtani ALI facilitated the opening ceremony. He recognised the importance of the fisheries sector and alluded that coordination of the activities of NSAs in West Africa remains a challenge that necessitates effective implementation coordination mechanisms to be in place. The following statements were made:
Dr Mohamed SEISAY, Senior Fisheries Officer of AU-IBAR gave welcome remarks on behalf of Prof. Ahmed A. El-Sawalhy the Director of AU-IBAR. He emphasized that the important contribution and impact of NSAs actions need not be over-emphasized in fisheries and aquaculture sector on the continent. The NSAs have the responsibility to seek and articulate the interest of fishers, fish farmers and traders and maintain very intimate relationships with the wilder fishing communities. Enduring challenge remains poor knowledge on their distribution, status and weak capacity. He also noted that NSAs are also further confronted with matters of inadequate or ineffective participation in fisheries management and aquaculture development and their non-recognition by the State actors. Through the implementation of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS), and within the framework of African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM), challenges facing NSAs could be addressed by enhancing coordination and linkages amongst various actors at national, regional and continental levels.
Dr Hamady DIOP, Head of the Program “Natural resource Governance and Food security” of the NEPAD Agency provided a welcome speech on behalf of his Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki. He outlined the challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Africa and alluded to NEPAD Agency commitment to supporting collaboration. He then noted that the platform should be established based on realistic vision and goals.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Water, Mr. Dindiogue KONLANI gave welcoming and opening remarks on behalf of H.E. Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Water, H.E. Mr. Colonel Ouro-Koura AGADAZI. The Permanent Secretary informed the meeting that, in Togo, a number of NSAs have adhered and signed agreements that include the fisheries and aquaculture in order to address transparency issues especially in artisanal fisheries as a result of solidarity between the NSAs. He welcomed the idea of a framework for coordination mechanisms for NSA, and reiterated commitment to provide high level support by the Government of Togo. It is in this regard that Mr. Dindiogue KONLANI, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Water, H. E. Mr. Colonel Ouro-Koura AGADAZI, declared opened the Workshop on the establishment of the Regional Platform of Non-State Actors active in fisheries and aquaculture in West Africa.
The workshop was facilitated by AU-IBAR and NEPAD Agency.
Setting the scene: presentation by AU-IBAR and NEPAD Agency
The presentations provided were:
- The background and objectives of the meeting.
- The themes for engagement of NSAs in implementation of the PFRS.
- The preliminary results from the NSAs inventory in West Africa Region.
References were made to Malabo Declaration on agricultural transformation and shared prosperity as well as the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa. Participants were reminded that the workshop is a part of the process of the implementation of the PFRS endorsed by the Heads of State and Governments of African Union. The process has been inclusive and NSAs organizations have been involved right from the start. One of the policy pillars of the PFRS provides guidance on increased role of NSA in the governance of fisheries. It is within that context that the African Union convened a meeting in 2015, Nairobi, Kenya during which the West African NSA expressed the need to have the current workshop organized.
This technical session focused on i) the status update of the implementation of the Action Plan that the NSA developed during the meeting held in August 2015 in Nairobi, ii) experience sharing and lessons learnt in terms of best practises; iii) the need for collaboration and harmonization amongst NSAs and the Public Sector in fisheries and aquaculture.
Presentation by national and regional Non State Actors
The NSAs made their presentation based on the following outline: Introduction of the Organisation, the role and involvement in fisheries and aquaculture-related activities, existing collaboration mechanisms, challenges and opportunities. The representatives of NSAs from the following countries made the presentations: Mauritania- (Mauritanian Artisanal Fisheries Federation (FNP) and Mauritania 2000), Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone Artisanal Fishermen’s Union (SLAFU) and Sierra Leone Amalgamated Artisanal Fisherman Union (SLAAFU)) and Togo.
The second set of presentations was from regional NSAs and institutions were from existing NSA and Institutions: Network on Fishing Policies in West Africa (REPAO), West African Association for the Development of Artisanal Fisheries (WADAF), African Confederation of Artisanal Fisheries Professional Organizations (CAOPA), Regional Partnership for Coastal and Marine conservation in western Africa (PRCM/IUCN), Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), and the Network of Farmers' Organizations and Agricultural Producers (ROPPA).
Working Group Session on the rules of procedure of the Regional Platform
A succinct presentation of the zero draft of Rules of Procedure of the regional NSA Platform was made to the participants. Thereafter two working groups were constituted to review the rules of procedure of the Regional NSA Platform of West Africa.
Mr. Barthelemy Batieno (PRCM) and Mr Gaoussou Gueye (CAOPA) facilitated the French speaking working Group, and Mr Kamorba Dabo (Fisheries Expert from Sierra Leone) facilitated the English speaking working group.
Outcomes of the Meeting
- The workshop meeting validated the draft rules of procedures and identified five priority areas within a one-year work plan they developed.
- The workshop established the Regional Platform through :
- Validation of the draft statute/constitution of the Regional Platform.
- Validated of the draft rules of procedures of the Platform.
- The participants agreed to organize a general assembly meeting of the platform for adoption of the final document and conduct awareness raising at national level.
- The participants agreed that the PRCM will host transitionally the secretariat of the Platform.
The participants put in place a transitional committee members comprising of the following:
Small Scale Fisheries Professional Representatives
- Gaoussou Gueye
- Dawda Saine
- Regional Framework of Artisanal Fisheries Organizations in West Africa (COFPAO)
- SAMBA GUEYE
Women network representative
- Regional Framework of Artisanal Fisheries Organizations in West Africa (COFPAO)
- Ramatou Abdou
Inland Fisheries Representative
- Collectif National des Organisations Professionnelles de la Filière Poisson du Mali (CNOPFPM)
- Abdoulaye Kontao
Non Profit Organizations (NGO) Representatives
- Moussa Mbengue
- Mariama Samb
Adoption of the Communique
The communique was adopted unanimously by the participants at the meeting.
Motion of Thanks
The participants congratulated the NEPAD Agency and the AU-IBAR for organizing the meeting. The participants look forward to continued support from AU-IBAR and NEPAD Agency in the finalization of the process for the implementation of the Regional Platform. They extended their thanks to the People and the Government of Togo for the warm welcome in their beautiful country. They also expressed their wishes that the outcomes of the meeting would be capitalised.
The closing statements were made by Dr. Mohamed Seisay on behalf of AU-IBAR Director, and Dr. Domtali Ali, Director of Fisheries in Togo, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Water of the Republic of Togo H.E. Mr. Colonel Oruro-Koura AGADAZI.