At its 31st session, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) through its Committee on Fisheries (COFI) adopted the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) in June 2014. The overriding goal of the SSF Guidelines is to promote a human rights-based approach to address the aspirations, needs and challenges of small-scale fishers and fish workers across the value chain. With a view to promote further SSF Guidelines implementation and sharing of experiences, the FAO is developing a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework (MEL4SSF).
As a signatory and participant to the development of the SSF Guidelines, the Philippines was selected to pilot the proposed draft MEL4SSF. The piloting process examined the framework in a real-world setting through document review, key informant interviews and surveys with relevant actors in the small-scale fisheries sector, and the findings will inform the finalization of the framework. The introduction of the
MEL4SSF took into consideration the Philippines governance context, characterized by a more decentralized and devolved governance structure. The piloting process uncovered possible impacts and opportunities on the implementation of SSF Guidelines initiatives, as well as in monitoring and evaluation of initiatives under the SSF Guidelines. The process contextualized the prioritization of identified key indicators of relevance from the stakeholders’ perspective and offered useful lessons and recommendations for improving the framework.
Given that SSF’s domain is at the municipal level in the Philippines, local government units (LGUs) play a key role in directly engaging the SSF stakeholders in the country. The critical role of local development councils and non-government organizations (NGOs) in the promotion of the SSF Guidelines and the MEL4SSF is of major importance in designing and developing strategies for local adoption.
The adoption and effective use of the MEL4SSF and its Handbook will require increasing awareness-raising about the SSF Guidelines among local SSF stakeholders, as well as the development SSF Guidelines implementation plans that are adapted to and address the local context.