A Workshop on Women’s Right and Fisheries Reforms in Africa and celebration of Woman International Day was held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, from 06th to 08th Mars 2016. The Meeting was organized by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with African Confederation of Artisanal Fisheries Professional organizations (CAOPA) and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania with support from the European Union. The African Union has recognised 2016 the year of Human Rights. The theme of the workshop and the consequent International Women’s Day celebration on the 8th March 2016 was on Women Rights.
The workshop deliberated upon priority actions to secure the rights of women in the fisheries towards the attainment of the objectives of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa. The meeting was attended more than 90 participants who included representatives of women groups from the Fisheries Sector from 47 African Union Member States, development partners, experts, journalists and African Union staff. The official opening ceremony was chaired by the Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, His Excellence Mr. Nanni Ould Chrougha in the presence of the Minister of Social Affairs, Children and Family, Her Excellence Dr. Fatima Habib of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
In her welcome remarks, Ms. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malek, Mayor of the Municipality of Teverbaugh Zeina in Nouakchott, highlighted the contribution of African women in to national economies of African countries. She noted that socio-economic empowerment was necessary for African women to be able claim their rights. She, on her part, would continue fighting for equality of among men and women in the fisheries sector in Africa.
Mr. Sid'Ahmed Ould Abeid, President of CAOPA acknowledged that African women in Artisanal Fisheries sector only supported their families, but especially were the ''Economic Engines" of the entire community. As a result of their contribution to the national economies, the President of CAOPA stated that ‘we do not need more mechanisms for implementation’ but rather the implementation of actions to ensure the women rights that include their rights of access to resources fisheries, information, finance, the development of their capacities, and effective participation in decision making.
Dr. Aboubacar Sidibe, Project Officer-Fisheries Resources Management in AU-IBAR on behalf of Professor Ahmed Elsawalhy, Director of AU-IBAR and Dr. Simplice Nouala, Head of Animal Production Unit, expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Mauritania for their magnanimity in accepting to host this pan-African event, which was a true reflection of the country’s commitment to the aspiration of the African Union. He underscored the importance of promoting and protecting the women’s rights in the fisheries as stated in the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy of the fisheries and aquaculture in Africa.
His Excellence Mr. Nanni Ould Chrougha, Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, on behalf of His Excellency the President Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mr. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, welcomed the participants to Nouakchott. He reiterated his Government’s acknowledgement and appreciations of the crucial economic and social role of Women in the fisheries sector in Africa. He noted that the meeting is a major step in strengthening the aspirations of the continent in promoting Women’s Rights in African in the Fisheries and Aquaculture sector. Consequently the Mauritanian Government had adopted affirmative action to empower and uplift women’s effective participation in the sector through training, recruitment to higher level more professional positions. On this note he declared the Workshop on "Women Rights and Fisheries Reform in Africa" open.
The main outcomes of the workshop were:
- Priority actions to strengthen the women right in fisheries and aquaculture sector in Africa were identified,
- The challenges women faced that affected their ability to access resources and derive equitable benefits from the sector such as access to investment capital in the artisanal fisheries sub-sector particularly women’s activities were identified,
- Priority actions to enable women build their capacity to overcome the challenges they faced in the sector that affected their access to and effective utilisation and management of the fishery resources. Celebration of the International Women day is used to continue sensitization on the right and role of women in Small Scale Fisheries and advocacy for an African Year of artisanal fisheries.