African governments embrace fisheries reforms
During a joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture that took place at the African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 28 April - 2 May 2014, ministers in attendance adopted the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS) and Fisheries & Aquaculture experts report, among others.
The conference organized by the African Union brought together more than 60 African Ministers for Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture to review progress and renew their commitment for action aimed at transforming Africa’s agriculture and fisheries sectors for accelerated growth, shared prosperity and sustainable development.
The Joint Conference had parallel sessions for Ministers of Agriculture & Rural Development and Fisheries & Aquaculture, which were preceded by a two-day meeting of Senior Officials/Experts. The Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA2) endorsed the policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa.
They expressed their satisfaction that the policy framework and reform strategy will greatly provide structured guidance to Africa’s fisheries management agencies, and other stakeholders to facilitate reforms toward coherent national and regional policies that ensure full wealth-generating potential, sustainable social, environmental, and profitable outcomes for Africa and its people.
The ministers and heads of delegation also reaffirmed their commitment to fight illegal unregulated and unreported fishing through the strengthening of monitoring, control and surveillance, ratifying and implementation of Port State Measures Agreement.
Speaking during the same event, WWF Coastal East Africa Initiative Head of Marine Programme, congratulated the Africa Union Commission (AUC) and its members for developing and adopting the Policy Reform Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa.
“WWF is proud to be part of this African fisheries reform agenda. It is great to see that African governments have identified fisheries as one of the key drivers of sustainable development and economic growth,” said Mr. Gove.
Mr. Gove also thanked AUC for recognizing the role and contribution of WWF in promoting sustainable management of marine fisheries resources in the African continent, and shared with delegates the WWF experience in promoting sustainable management of shared fisheries resources in the South Western Indian Ocean region.
During the same meeting, development partners reiterated their commitment to support African governments on fisheries reforms. The European Union and AUC signed a project document to support the implementation of the policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa to the tune of 11 million Euros. Speaking during the media briefing, the EU Director for Sustainable Development Roberto Ridolfi noted that the success of the project would be dependent on African leadership.
“The success of this project will depend on Africa’s leaders. Your dedication and effort in ensuring that the project is implemented will determine its positive impact on the continent,” said Mr. Ridolfi.
The joint ministerial conference also adopted the reports of experts and a series of resolutions outlining a specific set of goals, targets, and commitments, which were submitted to the AU Policy Organs. The joint resolutions and key decisions will be submitted to the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly Heads of State and Government in June 2014.
By John Kabubu, Domingos Gove and Edward Kimakwa