UN Secy-Genl urges integrating environmental, social and economic aspects of development

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has urged governments to consider setting up a new global arrangement that integrates environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development, stressing the need to mobilize public support for an approach that guarantees the wellbeing of humanity while preserving the planet for future generations.

Presenting the report prepared by his High-level Panel on Global Sustainability to an informal plenary of the General Assembly, Ban said the team’s recommendations address three main topics – empowering people to make sustainable choices; working towards a sustainable economy; and strengthening institutional governance.

“The panel’s vision is to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, to make growth inclusive, and production and consumption more sustainable, while combating climate change and respecting a range of other planetary boundaries, Ban told the Assembly.

The 22-member panel, established by Ban in August 2010 to formulate a new blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity, was co-chaired by former Finnish President, Tarja Halonen, and South African President, Jacob Zuma.

The group’s final report, Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing, which was formally launched in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 30 January, contains 56 recommendations to put sustainable development into practice and to make it a part of mainstream economic policy as quickly as possible.

The Secretary-General highlighted the “nexus approach of the report that underlines the fact that food, water and energy security are inextricably linked and must be pursued together.

He stressed that the recommendations that can be acted on immediately should be included in the Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to be held in Brazil in June.

Ban also noted that some of the recommendations relate to initiatives that he has already set in motion, including the Sustainable Energy for All initiative and a sustainable development strategy for the UN system. Others will be included in a new sustainable development index or set of indicators for sustainable development goals, he added.

“I also see the value of a periodic global sustainable development outlook report, and I will explore the modalities, including the availability of resources, for such an important and ambitious undertaking, he said.

He promised to strengthen ties between the global scientific community and the UN so that science occupies the central place in policymaking.

“We need everyone to work together to create a future worth choosing, the future we want, he added.

Organizational profile

Local Sea Fisheries Committees in France

Local Sea Fisheries Committees in France (CLPMs), which have served the interests of fishermen for over 65 years, are to be streamlined and merged into Departmental Committees. The rationale is essentially political and economic. Politically, the CLPMs have often been a thorn in the flesh of governments as a mouthpiece for fishermen’s grievances. There is a desire, therefore, to transform them into structures that are more administrative in nature to serve governmental requirements.

The economic scenario today is also very different compared to the 1940s post-war era when the CLPMs were set up. These decades-old structures set up to serve and provide a voice for several tens of thousands of fishers were in need of modernization and downsizing, it was felt. In 1950, there were around 60,000 fishermen in France. Today, there are around 12,000. A recent study by IFREMER shows that over the last 20 years the fishing fleet has reduced by half in metropolitan France, from around 11,000 in the 1990s to around 5,000 today.

However, although the number of vessels may have decreased, the actual work undertaken by fishermen’s organizations has increased. In particular, the number of tasks associated with inshore fisheries management, including integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), has increased. This is due to the devolution of fishery-management tasks as well as the increasing use of coastal areas by other interests, including offshore wind farms, aggregate extraction, dredging, etc.

The July 2010 Law on the Modernization of Agriculture and Fisheries (LMAP) called for the professional fishermen’s organizations to be modified. It demanded far-reaching reforms that would have a major impact on how fishermen are represented, and the services they would receive. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Brittany, a region where around one-third of the French fishing fleet is based. Thus, in the Department of Finistere, the five CLPMs of Concarneau, North Finistere, Douarenez, Audierne and Guilvinec (which are in fishing harbours) are now merged into a single Departmental Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture situated far from the sea.

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To increase the shipping and naval power of Great Britain by the extension of the fisheries of our colonies is an object which the legislature seems to have had almost constantly in view. These fisheries upon this account have had all the encouragement which freedom can give them and they have flourished accordingly.

From The Wealth of Nations (1776) by Adam Smith

Fisheries Statistics

The State of World Fishery Resources: Inland Fisheries

Marine catches have stabilized around their 1996 peak of about 87 mn tonnes to the present (2009) value of just over 89 mn tonnes. This FAO publication also shows the rapid growth of aquaculture production since 1990 to its present level of about 36 per cent of the total production.

It is worth noting that fish from all inland sources (capture and aquaculture combined) make up about 28 per cent of all fish produced as against the combined production of capture and culture from marine waters of 69 per cent. The remaining three per cent comes from brackishwater aquaculture. It is, perhaps, legitimate to combine the inland sources because of the many practices that are intermediate between capture and culture in inland waters, including various types of enhancement, gears such as fish parks, capture-based aquaculture, culture-based capture fisheries, and fisheries in rice fields and in small dams and reservoirs, which may be reported either as culture or capture, depending on local usage.

Inland capture fisheries currently contribute 6.5 per cent to total fish production, which is only about 2.3 per cent of the global protein production; they differ somewhat from other fisheries in that all produce is eaten either fresh, as some form of salted or dried product, or as a variety of fish sauces and pastes that are essential ingredients to many local cuisines. With few exceptions, such as the Amazonian large-boat fishery, the Lake Victoria fisheries, the sábalo fishery of Argentina and the fishery concessions of the Mekong and Ayerwaddy, inland fisheries are small-scale, involving large numbers of artisanal or subsistence fishers, and their products are usually marketed and consumed locally at the point of capture.

Catches of fish and other organisms from inland waters appear to have increased linearly by 2.93 per cent per year since 1950 to the present (2009) total of 10,323,905 tonnes.

Production of fish by capture from inland waters remains relatively low, compared with other sources of fish at 6.46 per cent of the total. However, it is still the sixth major supplier of animal protein globally. This global figure conceals considerable local variation, and, in some countries, fish caught from inland waters is the major source of animal protein available to the local population. For example, in Bangladesh, the inland catch of 1,006,761 tonnes in 2007 represents over 64 per cent of all animal protein produced. Similar high figures apply to Uganda (66 per cent), Cambodia (64 per cent) and Malawi (44 per cent). Slightly lower, but still very important, contributions are made in many other countries.

Nearly 38 per cent of the inland fish captured comes from the 71 low-income food deficit countries (LIFDCs) as defined by FAO. While the unweighted mean level of production for all countries is equivalent to only 1.48 kg/ha globally, some countries depend heavily on inland fish for their protein needs.

Table 1 shows the consumption equivalents in kg per capita per year (2007) for all countries with over 3 kg per capita per year.

Table 1: Contribution of Inland Fish to Diets for
Countries with Over 3 Kilograms per Capita/Year in 2007


Annual consumption (kg/capita)







Republic of the Congo






United Republic of Tanzania














Lao People’s Democratic Republic








Democratic Republic of Congo


Central African Republic










*Not all fish produced in some countries is consumed locally. For example, the Lake Victoria countries export a significant proportion of their Nile perch catch to Europe. Source: FAOSTAT

Of the 220 countries and political groupings reporting fish catches from all sources in 2009, 72 mostly arid or small-island countries did not report any inland catches; fairly complete lists of species are available for 52 (of which FAO estimated eight); restricted lists, including identification of important fish groups are available for 26 (of which FAO estimated six); and no breakdown at all were available for 34 (of which FAO estimated 21).

The majority of organisms caught (over 90 per cent) were finfish throughout most of the 50+ year period. However, the relative proportions of the groups changed during the evolution of the fishery since 1950, with a slight decrease in the proportion of finfish and increases in the proportion of crustaceans and molluscs. There are indications from a range of detailed surveys and studies on consumption patterns that actual catches of crustaceans and molluscs have been considerably under-reported, at least in the Mekong basin and parts of China and Southeast Asia. This is probably driven by a tendency to focus on fish catches rather than on other species in official reporting systems. These other aquatic animals, therefore, probably comprise a far greater proportion of actual catches in other parts of the world where they form part of the informal, subsistence and artisanal fisheries that are frequently unreported.

Table 2: Catch by Continent in 2009


Catch (tonnes)


Asia – inland waters

6 962 672


Africa – inland waters

2 423 711


Europe – inland waters

379 958


America, South – inland waters

359 948


America, North – inland waters

179 532


Oceania – inland waters

18 084



10 323 905


In 2009, Asia contributed the greater part of the production, at 67.4 per cent, followed by Africa at 23.5 per cent (see Table 2). Note that the countries that formerly comprised the USSR only began reporting their data as individual States after 1987. The Russian Federation is included under Europe after 1988.

These excerpts are from the State of the World Fishery Resources: Inland Fisheries by R Welcomme appeared in FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 942, Rome, FAO. 2011.