As the COP28 begins in Dubai, WorldFish, an international research and innovation organization reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, strongly advocates for the inclusion of small-scale fisherfolk in the Loss and Damage Fund, initiated at COP27 and due for operationalization at this year’s COP.

“Over 58.5 million people are employed in small-scale fisheries, these fisheries are global lifelines,” says Dr. Essam Mohammed, Director General of WorldFish,

Small-scale fisheries, both marine and freshwater, face significant threats from climate change. Rising temperatures, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events disrupt ecosystems, affecting fish populations and habitats in rivers, lakes, and oceans. These changes can result in reduced catches, or loss of traditional fishing grounds, impacting the livelihoods, nutrition and food security of millions dependant on this sector.

WorldFish calls for the swift operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, stressing the need for straightforward access and rapid disbursement of grants, especially for marginalised communities like small-scale fisherdfolk.

Emphasizing lessons from the Green Climate Fund’s challenges, WorldFish suggests a more inclusive, responsive approach to funding, ensuring broad accessibility beyond governmental reach, involving grassroots organizations, and local communities.

“Incorporating small-scale fisheries in the Loss and Damage Fund is essential for justice and equity. COP28 is our chance for transformative action to protect millions of lives, livelihoods and lay the groundwork for shared prosperity,” says Dr. Essam Mohammed,

WorldFish’s other key recommendations for COP28 include:

  1. Investment in Sustainable Aquatic Food Systems to maximize their potential as a climate solution. These systems play a key role in climate change mitigation, nourishing billions, and fostering economic growth, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
  1. Increase South-South collaborative efforts to accelerate adaptation of proven innovations and technologies that sustainably manage fisheries and can climate-proof production.
  1. Improve nutrition access and resilience by cultivating nutrient-rich fish to provide essential nutrients to low-income communities and to adapt small-scale fisheries to climate change, ensuring food security and sustaining livelihoods in vulnerable regions.

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