It was in 2014 that the SSF Guidelines were developed after participatory negotiations and were adopted by the COFI (Committee on Fisheries) of the FAO.  This national workshop, organised by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) Trust and the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) and supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was on SSF and local self-governments (known as LSGs or Panchayat Raj Institutions/Municipalities/Corporations in India).  It could be one of the first national workshops looking at fisheries and the local self-governments (LSG) with participants from LSGs, representatives of state fisheries departments, fishworker organisations, civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) coming together in the country. The workshop is part of the efforts to raise awareness regarding the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines).

The workshop discussed the SSF Guidelines and how it helps to increase the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and nutrition. It also looked into the equity aspect of SSF – livelihood in relation to income, access to education, health, sanitation and also conflict in fisheries, threats from land-based and sea-based activities and sharing of resources with other sectors. In a country which has a three tier system of governance with the local self-governments playing a pivotal role at the local level, the role the latter could play in operationalizing the SSF Guidelines was discussed at length. The SSF Guidelines emphasise on the decentralised and Local Government structures and the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India provide the opportunity and platform to work through a decentralised way. In fact, the Constitutional amendments were aimed at ensuring local economic development and social justice which is similar to what the SSF Guidelines aim for.

Author: ICSF
Year: 2019