Categories Events, ICCA and conservation policy, ICCA on the international level, World

A Call to Action That Respects the Vision of Small Scale Fishers and IPLC

First published on 05/19/2019, and last updated on 07/01/2019

By Kim Sander Wright, Advisor for Coastal, Marine and Island Environments of the ICCA Consortium, and
Vivienne Solis Rivera, ICCA Consortium Council Member and Coope SoliDar, Costa Rica.

2020 will be a year filled with world conservation conferences and congresses that will take stock of how far we have come, and to set the global conservation agenda for 2030 and 2050. Of particular importance, the second United Nations World Ocean Summit will be held in Lisbon, Portugal in June 2020.

Several organizations and foundations working for ocean conservation recently met in Lisbon, at the “One Smart Governance” meeting held on May 16-17th, 2019. The goal was to start developing an ambitious, bold and clear call for action to the world leaders about the future of our Oceans that can be delivered at next year’s Summit. Kim Sander Wright, of the ICCA Consortium, Vivienne Solís Rivera of CoopeSoliDar R.L and the ICCA Consortium, Manas Roshan of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, and Editrudith Lukanga of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, were invited by the Oak Foundation to bring the voice of local/fishing communities and indigenous peoples into the discussions. They shared their ideas and helped craft the call to action, out of the strength of their own experiences and practices.

The input from the ICCA Consortium was clear:

1. Although we can still find good examples of coastal Territories of Life (ICCAs, Locally Managed Marine Areas – LMMAs, Marine Areas of Responsible Fishing, etc.) all around the world, their importance and contributions to sustaining marine ecosystems and resources are generally unrecognised and threatened. Imposed governance models and political and legal systems, along with the disruption of small-scale and subsistence economies result in multiple patterns of acculturation that are eroding indigenous and local institutions, as well as the traditional knowledge, practices, and cultural connections and values upon which they are based. We need new approaches to governance and management of marine ecosystems and resources that are clearly based on collective rights and responsibilities and, wherever appropriate, localities. This can be accomplished through:

  • Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainability of Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) in the context of food security and poverty eradication.
  • Appropriate recognition of territories of life (ICCAs, LMMAs, or other names appropriate to this context) and support to local economies that are based on small-scale fisheries.
  • Self-strengthening processes for coastal governance institutions that empower communities to take actions that benefit local economies, biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • More determined and widespread respect of individual and collective human rights

2. We need integrated actions and approaches to landscape and seascape governance, ocean conservation and climate change, based on territories and cultures, not just resources. Small-scale fisheries are much more than extracting and marketing fish, they are a way of life! Where ‘territories of life’ exist in coastal areas, their integrated and holistic governance mechanisms in both terrestrial and marine realms must be supported and safeguarded from upland and downstream industrial pressures.

3. Women’s roles and extensive contributions to small-scale fisheries are very poorly recognized. We need to recognize all rightsholders and incorporate their views and opinions in the efforts towards the sustainable use of the ocean.

After the meeting, all the participants acknowledged that success in preserving the health of our oceans would require innovation. Innovation is needed in the way we see problems, the way we find solutions and also in the way we present those solutions to the world. More meetings are planned for the next months, with this object in minf. The ICCA Consortium was thanked for bringing new perspectives into the dialogue, and was invited to remain engaged. The ICCA Consortium will continue to work in this forum and others, to ensure that communities, cultures, livelihoods and territories that depend on healthy oceans have voices in the ocean governance going into the future .

Featured image: Manas Roshan of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, Vivienne Solís Rivera from CoopeSoliDar R.L /ICCA Consortium, Editrudith Lukanga of World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, Imani Fairweather-Morrison of the Oak Foundation and Kim Sander Wright, from the ICCA Consortium. Credits: Kim Sanders Wright