Conakry Declaration for transparency in west Africa

Declaration adopted by the participants of the sub-regional workshop on transparency in fisheries management in West Africa

WE, representatives of governments, regional fisheries organisations, professional organisations and civil society of the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Sierra Leone, met in Conakry, on 2-3 July 2018 on the invitation of the PRCM for the first sub-regional meeting on transparency in fisheries management and sustainable development of small pelagic in West Africa:

REITERATE the fundamental role that fisheries play in West Africa, given their important contribution to the economy of the countries in the sub-region, to food and nutrition security and to the economic and social development of our populations; and thereby the importance of good governance to guarantee the sustainable development of these renewable, yet fragile, resources;

EXPRESS our gratitude to the government of the Republic of Guinea for agreeing to host and chair this important meeting;

CONSIDER the numerous issues caused by the lack of transparency throughout the value chain of the fisheries sector, a deficit of credible information that is a major obstacle to responsible decision-making; RECOGNISE that transparency can only achieve its goal to lead to sustainable and responsible management of fisheries resources and ecosystems if all concerned actors, notably governments, fisheries professionals, civil society, research and parliamentarians are associated to the process and are provided with the same level of information, a prerequisite to give all concerned stakeholders greater responsibility to manage resources in a perspective of sustainability that benefits all and to introduce a climate of trust for collective action;

EMPHASISE that more transparency and participation at the national and sub-regional level will support efficient cooperation amongst our States to fight collectively against challenges that concerns us all, such as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, and to manage together our shared stocks, in particular our pelagic stocks, which are essential to the food and nutrition security of our populations; 

RECOGNISE the efforts undertaken at the institutional and political level to promote transparency, participation and good governance of fisheries resources, such as: The 2012 Convention on the Minimal Conditions for Access and Exploitation of Marine Resources within the Maritime Areas under Jurisdiction of the Member States of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission; The 2014 Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa and its implementation guide; The 2012 Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations); The 2015 Voluntary Guidelines for Security Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations); The future integrated and coordinated regional strategy on fisheries and aquaculture within the ECOWAS region, currently being developed.

RECOGNISE, therefore, the opportunities of implementing the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), which aims at making fisheries more sustainable and more responsible through the two principles of transparency and participation, an initiative which is voluntary but that will generate numerous direct and indirect benefits for our States; 

RECALL the date of February 2nd 2016, which marked the public commitment of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania His Excellency Mohamed OULD ABDEL AZIZ and the President of the Republic of Senegal His Excellency Macky SALL to implement transparency in their fisheries sector based on an inclusive process by starting the FiTI process in their respective countries; as well as the commitment made in June 2016 by the Republic of Guinea; URGE the governments of the States in the sub-region that have already engaged in the FiTI initiative to fulfil their commitments and pursue their efforts in implementing the initiative, in a frank and inclusive collaboration with all actors of the sector; 

CALL UPON the governments of the sub-region to implement the FiTI in their respective countries, as are doing Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal; and call upon non-state actors of these States to accompany this process; ENCOURAGE further States to join the voluntary Fisheries Transparency Initiative, in particular fishing nations whose vessels come to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the West African States;

WELCOME the availability of technical and financial partners in the sub-region such as the PRCM, the GIZ and the MAVA foundation to support further countries that show willingness to implement the FiTI;

Done in Conakry, this 3rd of July 2018

The meeting participants