Toolkit to enrich civil society engagement in policy development around fisheries sector launched

The Pacific Islands Forum is committed to working closely with civil society and non-government organisations to develop regional policy, and one sector in which this partnership is crucial is fisheries.

In their 2017 communique, Forum Leaders identified fisheries as a sustainable development priority for their countries and with the annual tuna catch in the region over seen the Forum Fisheries Agency valued at an estimated USD $2.6billion it is not hard to see why.

This week Mr Shiu Raj, the Forum Secretariat’s Director of Programmes and Initiatives, helped launch Policy Analysis and Engagement Toolkit: A guide for Pacific Non-Government Organizations in the Fisheries Sector.

The Toolkit serves to empower and upskill civil society organisations in policy analysis, a critical aspect of advocacy for change. The toolkit is designed to enrich understanding of policy development and processes, to ensure informed and effective engagement.

Speaking at this week’s civil society roundtable and workshop, which focussed on regional oceanic fisheries governance, management and policy in the western and central Pacific Ocean, Mr Raj said it is encouraging to observe the increased engagement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the regional policy dialogue space and the fisheries sector in particular.

“The management of this important sector is key to contributing to the economic and sustainable development of the Pacific region. CSO contributions to the regional dialogue on Fisheries Governance and Management through their dialogue series with Forum TROIKA have raised issues surrounding the region’s lucrative fisheries resources.”

“In 2017 at the Forum Leaders meeting in Samoa, CSOs reiterated the importance of fisheries under the Blue Pacific narrative and called for political and financial support to develop evidence-based policies responding to research on fishery health, and the loss of tuna resources eastwards and on the high seas.

“Building the capacity of CSOs through initiatives such as this policy workshop demonstrate that increasingly your voices and actions in determining the future of our shared resources remains a critical feature of our Pacific working together to achieve more than alone, and leaving no one behind.”

Read Mr Raj’s speech in entirety is available here: https://bit.ly/2sT6YMp

The toolkit is the outcome of a collaboration between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the European Union and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat through their Strengthening Non-State Actors’ Engagement in the Regional Policy Development and Implementation Programme, and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency.

You can access the toolkit here: https://bit.ly/2JQCkgs