A Bottom-up, Pro-fisher Policy

A recent workshop and symposium in Kolkata, India, highlighted issues and concerns in the run-up to the proposed international guidelines on marine and inland small-scale fisheries

A National Workshop and Symposium on Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries, organized by the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), in collaboration with the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), was held in Kolkata, India, between 19 and 21 September 2011, to draw attention to fishery and non-fishery threats facing inland and marine small-scale fishing communities and to contribute to the proposed international guidelines on marine and inland small-scale fisheries being developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Matanhy Saldanha, Chairperson, NFF, welcomed the participants and said that this was the first time NFF was inviting representatives of inland fisheries to one of its meetings. Speaking at the workshop, Madan Mitra, the Minister of State for Fisheries, West Bengal, spoke of plans being formulated by the State government to support fisheries. He invited two representatives from the workshop to present the workshop proposals at a State-level meeting on fisheries. Pradip Chatterjee, Secretary, NFF then read out a message of support and solidarity from an eminent Bengali author, Mahasweta Devi.

Introducing the workshop, Chandrika Sharma, Executive Secretary, ICSF, said small-scale fisheries (SSF) mainly contribute towards direct human consumption, and are known for seasonality of operations, and low energy use. Small-scale fisheries are more equitable and sustainable, she said, and are part of the culture of coastal and inland communities, besides being a way of life. Women often are an integral part of small-scale fish processing and marketing, she pointed out. There is, however, need to be clear on what constitutes small-scale fisheries, she stressed. The workshop, she hoped, could develop proposals on policy and action needed to support inland and marine smallscale fisheries at the local and national levels.

Sharma provided a brief background to the decision of FAO to develop voluntary guidelines on sustainable small-scale fisheries (VG-SSF). Civil society groups across the world had mobilized prior to, and around, the FAO conference on “Securing Sustainable Smallscale Fisheries: Bringing Together Responsible Fisheries and Social Development, in October 2008, in Bangkok, seeking greater support for small-scale fisheries and, specifically, for an international instrument on SSF. Following FAO’s subsequent decision to develop such an instrument, civil society organizations had formed a joint co-ordination group.

National workshops

National workshops were being organized in Asia, Africa, Central America, Latin America, Oceania and Europe during the period 2011- 2012. The output of these workshops will be synthesized, consolidated and used to influence the content of the VG-SSF, Sharma said. The current workshop is the first in the series, she observed.

Presentations from inland fisheries groups followed in the next session of the meeting, chaired by V Vivekanandan, a Member of ICSF. Sriram, an inland fisherman from Tikamgarh district, Madhya Pradesh, spoke about fishing and fish farming in leased irrigation tanks, originally built by the Chandela dynasty in the 10th century AD. The traditional fishers got organized to challenge a 1996 provincial policy defining anyone who fished as a ‘fisherman’; they had the support of a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), Vikalp. They wanted only traditional fishers to be legally recognized to fish in inland water bodies. After a struggle lasting nearly ten years, the fishers got their demand met by the provincial government in 2008. The inland fisheries policy of Madhya Pradesh is now based on the recommendations of inland fishers. Likewise, the lease amount is also fixed in consultation with fishers. Sriram sought a national campaign to address issues such as rights of traditional inland fishers, enhancing fish stocks in inland waters, and increasing budget allocations for inland fisheries development. He proposed setting up a national network of those working in inland fisheries.

Three types of inland fisheries and aquaculture operations were presented from West Bengal to highlight the rights demanded by, or denied to, inland fishing communities. Rabin Soren from the Santhal community of Birbhum district talked about a campaign to stop destructive stone quarrying, and about stocking fingerlings in abandoned khadans (stone quarries), managed and fished by women’s groups. There are many illegal quarries in the region, which tribal communities are trying to convert into fish ponds, and get their rights secured to fish in them, he said. Gobinda Das from the Sunderbans narrated problems encountered in fishing in the vicinity of a tiger reserve (a protected area), and how the community is constantly under the threat of fishing artefacts being confiscated by the West Bengal Forest Department. He sought the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, which recognizes the right to livelihood of local communities, including in national parks, reserves and sanctuaries. Beg, an employee of the Mudiali fisheries co-operative, talked about how large quantities of industrial and domestic waste water of Kolkata are being recycled to successfully rear different carp species. Although their co-operative is a good example of nutrient recycling, low-impact aquaculture and lowexternal- input sewage/fish system combining the need to increase fish production by decreasing pollution, it still operates under the threat of eviction by the Kolkata Port Trust Authority, which owns the land where the fish-rearing activities are located.

Suman Singh from Sakhi, an NGO in Bihar, narrated the struggle waged by women of traditional fishing communities for fishing rights over ponds and water bodies. Women of traditional fishing communities are now organized into self-help groups and co-operatives, and are undertaking fishing in ponds and tanks in northern Bihar, employing local material and local indigenous knowledge. In spite of the difficulty in getting recognition for women’s right to fish, 50 per cent of the ponds in Bihar are now being allocated to women for fishing. Since 2010, a new inland fisheries policy has been implemented in Bihar. Singh drew attention to the extremely poor socioeconomic status of traditional fishing communities in Bihar, and the high rate of illiteracy in the State. With girls often getting married at a very young age, the situation of women is even more precarious. Urgent attention is needed to improve the socioeconomic situation of fishing communities, she said. Singh welcomed the proposal to form a national network. Manju Devi, a landless fisherwoman from Bihar, said she and her husband had received a pond on a ten-year lease to undertake fish farming; this, she added, is an illustration of how fish ponds on lease can be an effective tool for redressing the poverty of landless people.

Prakash Malgave of the Vidarbha Federation of Fishermen’s Co-operatives, Maharashtra, highlighted the basic contradiction between rearing fish in irrigation tanks and agriculture. While the farmers are keen to take the water out, the fishers are interested in keeping the water in the tank. Fishermen’s co-operatives have to pay the full lease amount to the zilla parishad even if there is no water in the irrigation tank, he said. Fishing co-operatives have water to undertake fish culture only during the months of July to Septemberabout 100 days in a year. Fishers have to seek other forms of livelihood for the rest of the year. Instead of granting subsidies for construction of fishing vessels and setting up fish-processing facilities, subsidies should be granted for water conservation in rivers, tanks and ponds, as well as for fish seed production, he said. Subsidies should be extended for the conservation of natural seed production areas. The rights of inland fishers are not recorded anywhere. The provincial government should properly identify and record the historic rights of inland fishers. A comprehensive policy on inland fisheries is needed, Malgave concluded.

Raja Rao from Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, described the campaign undertaken by local fishing communities against the location of a power plant in the productive wetlands that have been their traditional fishing grounds. The fishermen of Chilika Lake of Orissa the largest lagoon in Indiadescribed the negative impact of illegal prawn farms that had come up in the lagoon, an issue they have been agitating against for the past couple of decades, including through legal means. Even as many of the farms continue to operate illegally, the opening of a new outlet in the lake has affected the water exchange and productivity of the lagoon. The livelihoods of local fishing communities have been badly affected, and they have even been forced to migrate to work on board multi-day fishing vessels in Gujarat.

On the second day of the meeting, participants were divided into three groups. While two of the groups comprised participants from marine fisheries, one group focused on inland fisheries. Participants were asked to reflect on key issues of concern to their lives and livelihood, as well as to make specific proposals to address these issues. They were also expected to reflect on how small-scale fisheries can be defined or characterized in the Indian context. The discussions in all the groups were extremely animated and lively. The resulting statement from the workshop (see box…) is based on the reports of the working groups.

Hotly debated topic

How to define small-scale fisheries and small-scale fishers in the Indian context was a topic hotly debated in one of the marine fisheries groups. According to fishers of southern Maharashtra, traditional fishing employing non-mechanized and non-motorized fishing craft within 10 fathoms from the shoreline should be considered small-scale fishing. For mechanized fishing vessel owners in Karnataka, small-scale fishing would include only vessels with engines up to 10 hp, or without engines. Mumbai fishers said non-mechanized vessels or those with engines up to 32 hp undertaking any territorial-water fishing operations other than trawling could be considered small-scale fishing vessels. For the Tamil Nadu fishers, all fishing vessels up to 37 hp undertaking fishing operations, except trawling and purse-seining in territorial waters, could be considered small-scale. Small-scale fishers would include owner-operators of the above categories, workers engaged in fishing operations in these vessels, and allied workers and processing workers, especially women. It was agreed to consider non-trawl 20 hp fishing vessels below 20m in length, with manually operated gear, especially with no mechanized towing and hauling power, and whose owners regularly go out to sea, as small-scale fishing in the national context. It was also agreed that small-scale fishers in India would include: owneroperators from fishing communities, and workers on board, and allied to, small-scale fishing, including resident and migrant workers as well as women fish processing workers.

Traditional fisheries can be divided into traditional small-scale and traditional large-scale, it was suggested; the latter would fish in waters beyond the territorial limits. The traditional large-scale should be licensed to fish in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the Central government should facilitate this, it was held.

On fisheries subsidies, the group was of the view that these should be discontinued for building new fishing vessels. It was proposed that tax rebates on diesel fuel for purse-seiners and trawlers should be withdrawn considering their destructive impact on fishery resources. The group debated, inconclusively, whether or not it is better to consider a one-time subsidy to shift to more fuel-efficient engines, instead of continuing with the current regime of recurring fuel subsidies. The group also discussed the desirability of re-targeting existing fuel subsidies towards better health and education programmes for fishing communities.

Discussing the equity dimension of ownership, the group was of the view that each fishing family should not own more than one or two vessels. It is ideal to restrict the number of fishing vessels to one per ration card (a card issued by the provincial government for a family to obtain food or other essential commodities, which is treated like a family identity card in India). It was also suggested that community consent should be obtained before registering new fishing vessels.

While discussing bottom-up processes for fisheries management, several questions were raised for consideration, such as how far selfregulation is effective; how far existing traditional arrangements could be useful; the relevance of traditional knowledge in a fast-changing fishery scenario; and the role of government in fisheries management. The group was keen that the government should have an oversight role in all fisheriesmanagement arrangements.

In the second marine group, which included the fishworkers’ groups from India’s eastern seaboard, attention was drawn to a gamut of problems that continue to face fishworkers and their communities. Several proposals were mooted, with priority being given to the need to recognize the rights of fishworkers to the coastal lands customarily used by them, as well as their rights to access and manage fishing grounds and water bodies. This was particularly in the context of ongoing developments, such as those related to tourism, ports, industrial development and conservation initiatives, which were leading to the displacement of fishing communities from their lands and waters, and causing widespread pollution and destruction of habitats and resources. The group stressed the need for equipping landing centres with basic infrastructure and facilities at markets, and access to healthcare. It highlighted the importance of decent housing, sanitation, education and roads. Specific attention was drawn to the need to recognize women fish processors and vendors, including through issuing identity cards and ensuring their coverage under various government social-security schemes. The problems faced by women vendors related to transport and harassment at market places needed to be specifically addressed, it was noted. Attention was also drawn to the persistence of child labour in some poor coastal regions. Many of the participants in the group highlighted the continuing hold of moneylenders and traders, and the need for wellfunctioning co-operative societies that also provided access to credit at affordable rates.

The inland fisheries group observed that the right over water bodies for fishing should be granted to fishery co-operatives comprising exclusively of fishing communities and traditional fishers. To facilitate this process, the group said, a census of inland fishing communities should be held. The group sought a uniform fishing policy for all inland water bodies. It further wanted the responsibility for dealing with fishing rights in water bodies to be handed over to the Fishery Department. The group upheld the importance of recognizing the role of fisherwomen in inland fisheries and aquaculture, and their right to a secure workplace and dignified treatment. The women fish vendors were sometimes evicted from local market places without prior notice. The group sought an end to harassment and exploitation of women in the name of paying a tax for using the market space.

Lack of education was identified as the main problem behind the exploitation of fishing communities. The group urged that a targeted educational programme should be implemented for fishing communities. They pointed out that inland fishers are regularly exposed to disasters such as floods and droughts, and to climate-change-related processes. Steps should be taken to prepare them for these disasters, it was suggested. The group sought establishing and strengthening a network of community organizations within the inland sector, with the support of the State.

In the symposium that followed the workshop, the draft statement drawn from the group reports was presented. Speaking at the symposium, Yugraj Yadava, Director, the Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organization (BOBP-IGO), said the Central government should circulate a model inland fisheries bill for all States and finalize it through a participatory process. He said it is important to plan fishing capacity according to the potential of harvestable resources. Instead of building fishing harbours, it would make better sense to build smaller fish-landing centres, he said. He suggested that school curricula should include lessons on climate change, hygiene and sanitation. The allowance for closed fishing seasons, currently disbursed to marine fishing and a few inland fishing States, should be disbursed to all inland fishers, he proposed. A small-scale fisheries policy can form the subset of a revised comprehensive marine fishing policy, he added.

Pradip Chaterjee, Secretary, NFF, stressed the need for fishing communities to be recognized as the natural custodians of water bodies, with a role in their management. There is urgent need to effectively control activities that lead to pollution and habitat destruction, he said. This message was strongly reinforced by Ram Bhau Patil, an NFF leader from Maharashtra. Suman Singh from Sakhi, Bihar, spoke of the high levels of corruption that deprive communities of access to government schemes and welfare programmes. She also highlighted the importance of capacity building, particularly for strengthening community institutions, to enable them to manage and benefit from inland fisheries. Ujjaini Halim of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fishworkers (WFF) said it is important to consider how to move forward through a bottom-up, pro-fisher policy, and participation of fishers in decision-making processes. International human-rights law would assist in holding States accountable, she said. Civil society can assert the rights of fishing communities, and the State can create an environment conducive for respecting their rights, she added. She hoped the Government of India would support the VG-SSF, especially by drawing elements from the Kolkata Workshop Statement.



National Workshop on Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries: Towards FAO Guidelines on Marine & Inland Small-scale Fisheries

Organized by the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) in collaboration with the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

19 – 21 September 2011
Kolkata, India

We, 62 participants representing the inland and marine fishing communities, fishworker organizations, and nongovernmental organizations, having gathered at the National Workshop on Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries: Towards FAO Guidelines on Marine and Inland Small-scale Fisheries, from 19 to 21 September 2011 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India;

Welcoming the decision of the 29th Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to develop a set of voluntary guidelines addressing both inland and marine small-scale fisheries that would draw on relevant existing instruments, and would complement the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;

Noting that about 14 million people are directly dependent on fisheries in India for their lives and livelihoods, and that the vast majority of them are dependent on small-scale fisheries; Recognizing that fishing has a long tradition in India, and that social development issues are common to all fishers from traditional fishing communities;

Further noting that small-scale inland and marine fisheries provide employment, income and nutritional security, especially to the poor;

Drawing attention to the critical role played by women within fisheries and fishing communities and the need for specifi c focus on supporting and empowering women; Call upon the Government of India, the States, the Union Territories, and the panchayats, as appropriate, to address our concerns and to recognize and defend the rights of small-scale fishing communities, as mentioned below:

Small-scale Fisheries

1. In the Indian inland sector, both freshwater capture fisheries and sustainable forms of culture-based capture fisheries, primarily dependent on indigenous species, are small-scale fisheries for us. In the Indian marine fisheries sector, however, only fishing operations by vessels below 20m length that do not operate trawl, employ no mechanized towing or hauling power, where owners are full-time fishers and where fishing gear is manually operated, are considered small-scale fishing operations by us. Small-scale fishers would include: owneroperators from traditional fishing communities, fishworkers, allied workers in the above fishing operations, as well as women engaged in post-harvest activities.

Resource Management

2. Respect, protect and secure the rights of traditional fishing communities to fishing grounds and resources, considering the importance of fishery resources to their life, culture and livelihood.

3. Recognize and protect the traditional rights of small-scale fishing communities to fish, including in national parks and sanctuaries. The provisions of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and those of the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006, that protect the rights and occupational interests of traditional fishing communities should be implemented in this context.

4. Facilitate bottom-up processes for managing marine and inland fisheries by revitalizing traditional institutions and by employing the traditional knowledge of fishers, within an appropriate policy and legal framework.

5. Make appropriate arrangements to facilitate utilization of water bodies such as ponds, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs and canals for the purpose of fishing.

6. Develop a uniform inland fisheries policy through a participatory process.

7. Protect or grant the right to fish, and to manage fisheries, in inland public water bodies to traditional inland fishing communities.

8. Vest fishing communities with the right to manage resources, including in national parks and sanctuaries.

9. Implement the marine fishing regulation act (MFRA). The MFRA and related instruments should be amended to facilitate participatory management of fishery resources.

10. Adopt measures to phase out bottom trawling from territorial waters over a period of five years, considering its negative impact on marine ecology, biodiversity and the distribution of marine fishery resources.

11. Promote selective and location-specific fishing gear. Prohibit destructive fishing gear such as purse-seine and fine-meshed gear in shrimp seed collection, considering their negative impact on biodiversity.

12. Prohibit the construction of new trawlers and purse-seiners under the National Co-operative Development Corporation (NCDC) schemes for fisheries development, with immediate effect.

13. Restrict the ownership of fishing vessels to one vessel per fishing family. Community-based organizations may be involved in regulating the number of fishing vessels at the local level. Community consent may be taken before registering a new fishing vessel.

14. Cancel fishing vessels under the Letter of Permission (LOP) facility and promote vessels fully owned and operated by Indian fishing communities that have the capacity to safely harvest fishery resources such as tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

15. Guarantee preferential access to small-scale fisheries in the Indian maritime zones, also upholding the spirit of the Murari Committee (1996) observations and updating its recommendations.

16. Urgently enact legislation for managing fisheries in the Indian EEZ, also taking into consideration the recommendations of the Majumdar Committee (1978).

Coastal and Marine Environment Protection

17. Protect inland, coastal and marine ecosystems from pollution and habitat destruction.

18. Do not permit nuclear and thermal power plants, chemical and other polluting industries to be set up near the coast and water bodies, including wetlands.

19. Consider all factors, including ecological ones, and the threat of coastal erosion, while designing ports and harbours.

20. Establish an inter-departmental co-ordination mechanism to address coastal, marine and inland pollution, encroachment and other issues, with all concerned ministries and departments on behalf of small-scale fishers. The State fisheries departments should take up this responsibility.

Rights to Land and Housing

21. Secure the rights of fishing communities to land for housing and for fishery-related activities. Land titles (pattas) should be issued for housing, and space used for fishery-related activities should be protected as common property.

22. Protect the rights of fishing communities to housing in urban and tourist areas. Land, as required, should be acquired to assure decent housing for fishing communities.

23. Recognize and secure the land rights of fishers and fishing communities (in relation to both private and common property) in land revenue records.

Rights to Social and Economic Development

24. Guarantee specific forms of protection to traditional fishing communities to enable them to improve their socioeconomic status.

25. Equip fishing villages with basic services, such as healthcare, potable water, sanitation and electricity.

26. Extend primary healthcare to all fishing communities. The Yeshasvini Health Insurance Scheme of the Karnataka government could be a good practice to be followed by other States.

27. Deliver nutritional support to pregnant women and children in food-insecure fishing communities.

28. Ensure access to education in fishing villages. Education up to matriculation, including residential facilities at educational institutions, should be made freely available.

29. Provide access roads to fishing villages where they are lacking, as in States on the east coast of India.

30. Develop hygienic landing centres and all-weather approach roads in fishing villages. Basic facilities such as ice boxes, storage facilities for fishing gear, and toilets for women should be provided at the landing centres.

31. Undertake a census of inland fisher/fishing communities.

32. Enumerate women’s work in both inland and marine fisheries.

33. Revive and strengthen fisheries co-operative societies, and support appropriate forms of economic organizations, including self-help groups (SHGs), and fully respect their autonomy.

34. Ensure that access to credit and government schemes, and other economic benefits, are not restricted to the members of co-operative societies.

35. Guarantee credit at reasonable rates of interest to enable all fishworkers to attain economic empowerment and to free themselves from unscrupulous moneylenders.

36. Consider production-enhancing subsidies in small-scale fisheries, subject to the status of fishery resources.

37. Provide adequate compensation to fishers whose livelihood activities are affected due to activities such as oil spills, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, conservation programmes and maritime transport.

38. Ensure diversified livelihoods and appropriate training to fishing communities to reduce pressure on the fishery sector. In this context, fishing community-based tourism, production of value-added products, and employment of local fisher youth in marine and coastal police, and as lifeguards, should be promoted.

Post-harvest Activities

39. Provide hygienic fish markets, basic amenities, transport facilities and assistance to maintain cold chains.

40. Redevelop/upgrade existing fish markets, to ensure hygiene and access to basic facilities such as water, sanitation, and storage.

41. Issue identity cards to fish vendors, including women fish vendors.

42. Protect access of women of fishing communities to fish resources for processing, marketing and food.

43. Provide transport facilities to fish vendors, particularly if they lack access to public transport, or are denied access to it.

44. Take steps to eliminate harassment faced by women in fish markets, in particular, and ensure safe workplace for women.

Labour, Working and Living Conditions

45. Ratify and implement the ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention, 2007, and extend its provisions to all fishers, to improve their working and living conditions.

46. Implement uniform social security for all fishers and fishworkers across all States and Union Territories and reduce the minimum age for their old age pension to 50 years.

47. Guarantee access to social security for all those who are engaged in fishery-related activities.

48. Enhance the contribution of the Centre and State governments to the Saving-cum-Relief Scheme to ensure higher monthly payment during closed season. The scheme should be inclusive of inland fisheries and women fish vendors of all States, as well as fish sorters, driers and vendors.

49. Provide toilets on board fishing vessels, considering that many fishers meet with accidents while using the gunwale as toilet or while using portable toilets on board trawlers and purse-seiners.

50. Prevent child labour in fisheries and fishing communities, and protect the right of the child to education. Schools for child workers below the age of 14 years should be set up in coastal areas. In this context, the school for child workers in brick kilns of Orissa may be considered a model.

51. Provide training in, and access to, diversified livelihoods to fishing communities to prevent distress migration.

Climate Change and Disaster Preparedness

52. Utilize effectively the financial resources earmarked for disaster preparedness in the context of natural or manmade calamities of concern to fishing communities.

53. Take steps to prepare both inland and marine fishing communities for disasters such as flood, sea surge and drought, and other unexpected forms of natural or manmade calamities.

54. Train traditional fishers in disaster preparedness. Periodic drills should be conducted to prepare coastal communities to speedily evacuate from affected areas in the event of an industrial or nuclear accident, or catastrophe.

55. Take steps to ensure that incidents of old ships being accidentally or deliberately sunk in coastal waters are minimized, given the devastating impact of such incidents on fishing activities.

56. Develop, in a participatory way, the adaptive capacity of fishing communities to meet challenges of climate variability and change, such as floods and cyclones, and shift or extension in distribution of fishery resources.

57. Introduce fuel-efficient engines and promote biodegradable fishing gear, towards mitigation, employing financial incentives. Training programmes should be developed to facilitate improved navigation and fishing methods to reduce fuel consumption, as well as to facilitate fishing community initiatives to protect and develop coastal vegetation and features.

58. Create a special fund for cyclone relief, especially to ensure speedy response. Cyclone shelters should be provided in all cyclone-prone States, especially on the east coast of India.


59. Strengthen capacity-building programmes among fishing communities to enhance their awareness of rights, government schemes and resource management.

60. Establish systems to ensure that fishing communities are consulted during the process of formulating legislation or policy that could have an impact on their lives and livelihoods, and to enhance their capacity to engage meaningfully in such processes.

Keeping in mind the above, we urge the Government of India to develop a national policy on small-scale fisheries to protect the rights and interests of small-scale fishing communities.

The States, the Union Territories and the panchayats may also draw upon this Statement in their policies and programmes for sustainable small-scale fisheries.

We also call upon FAO to draw elements from this Statement in its preparation of voluntary guidelines on sustainable small-scale fisheries.

For more sheries/
Small-scale Fisheries: Civil Society Process shery/ssf/guidelines/en
Voluntary Guidelines on SecuringSustainable Small-Scale Fisheries [VG-SSF]
Kolkota Workshop Statement