COP28 concludes with historic agreement to try to tackle the climate crisis

The United Nations Climate Change conference, COP28, has concluded with a historic agreement to transition away from fossil fuels and to try to rein in accelerating climate change.

Key messages

  • Declaration recognizes need to transition away from fossil fuels
  • It aims to keep Paris Agreement 1.5°C goal within reach
  • It voices concern at accelerating pace of climate change
  • It reflects WMO scientific input
  • It urges more adaptation financing, including through Early Warnings for All

The United Nations Climate Change conference, COP28, has concluded with a historic agreement to transition away from fossil fuels, triple renewable energy and increase climate finance for the most vulnerable. It aims to keep alive the goal of the Paris Agreement to try to limit long-term global average near-surface temperature to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era.

The agreement – whilst less ambitious than many had hoped – calls for more decisive climate action in the face of rapidly accelerating climate change and more dangerous extreme weather that is leading to massive environmental, economic and societal upheaval.



WorldFish calls for small-scale fisheries’ inclusion in COP28 loss and damage fund

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:

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.

Increase South-South collaborative efforts to accelerate adaptation of proven innovations and technologies that sustainably manage fisheries and can climate-proof production.

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Outcome of the first global stocktake


Emphasizes the importance of the global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal referred to in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement;

Recognizes the increasing adaptation planning and implementation efforts being undertaken by Parties towards enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability, as set out in national adaptation plans, adaptation communications and nationally determined contributions, as appropriate, and welcomes that 51 Parties have submitted national adaptation plans and 62 Parties have submitted adaptation communications to date;

Recognizes the significant efforts of developing country Parties in formulating and implementing national adaptation plans, adaptation communications and nationally determined contributions, as appropriate, including through their domestic expenditure, as well as their increased efforts to align their national development plans;

Also recognizes the significant challenges developing country Parties face in accessing finance for implementing their national adaptation plans;

Notes with appreciation the contribution of relevant UNFCCC constituted bodies and institutional arrangements, including the Adaptation Committee, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group and the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, to the efforts referred to in paragraph 45 above;

Notes that there are gaps in implementation of, support for and collective assessment of the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation, and that monitoring and evaluation of outcomes is critical for tracking the progress and improving the quality and awareness of adaptation action;

Acknowledges that establishing and improving national inventories of climate impacts over time and building accessible, user-driven climate services systems, including early warning systems, can strengthen the implementation of adaptation actions, and recognizes that one third of the world does not have access to early warning and climate information services, as well as the need to enhance coordination of activities by the systematic observation community;

Recalls the United Nations Secretary-General’s call made on World Meteorological Day on 23 March 2022 to protect everyone on Earth through universal coverage of early warning systems against extreme weather and climate change by 2027 and invites development partners, international financial institutions and the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism to provide support for implementation of the Early Warnings for All initiative;

Calls for urgent, incremental, transformational and country-driven adaptation action based on different national circumstances;

Recognizes that climate change impacts are often transboundary in nature and may involve complex, cascading risks that require knowledge-sharing and international cooperation for addressing them;
Emphasizes that the magnitude and rate of climate change and associated risks depend strongly on near-term mitigation and adaptation actions, that long-term planning for and accelerated implementation of adaptation, particularly in this decade, are critical to closing adaptation gaps and create many opportunities, and that accelerated financial support for developing countries from developed countries and other sources is a critical enabler;

Recognizes the importance of the iterative adaptation cycle for building adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability and notes that the adaptation cycle is an iterative process, consisting of risk and impact assessment; planning; implementation; and monitoring, evaluation and learning, recognizing the importance of means of implementation and support for developing country Parties at each stage of the cycle;

Encourages the implementation of integrated, multi-sectoral solutions, such as land-use management, sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems, nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches, and protecting, conserving and restoring nature and ecosystems, including forests, mountains and other terrestrial and marine and coastal ecosystems, which may offer economic, social and environmental benefits such as improved resilience and well-being, and that adaptation can contribute to mitigating impacts and losses, as part of a country-driven gender-responsive and participatory approach, building on the best available science as well as Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and local knowledge systems;

Notes that ecosystem-based approaches, including ocean-based adaptation and resilience measures, as well as in mountain regions, can reduce a range of climate change risks and provide multiple co-benefits;

Recalls that, as provided in Article 7, paragraphs 10–11, of the Paris Agreement, each Party should, as appropriate, submit and update an adaptation communication, and that the adaptation communication shall be, as appropriate, submitted and updated periodically, as a component of or in conjunction with other communications or documents, including a national adaptation plan, a nationally determined contribution as referred to in Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Paris Agreement and/or a national communication, and that Parties may, as appropriate, also submit and update their adaptation communication as a component of or in conjunction with the reports on impacts and adaptation as stipulated in Article 13, paragraph 8, of the Paris Agreement;

Also recalls that the guidance on adaptation communications is to be reviewed in 2025;

Calls on Parties that have not yet done so to have in place their national adaptation plans, policies and planning processes by 2025 and to have progressed in implementing them by 2030;

Requests the secretariat to prepare a regular synthesis report on adaptation information provided by Parties in their biennial transparency reports, adaptation communications and nationally determined contributions;

Stresses the importance of global solidarity in undertaking adaptation efforts, including long-term transformational and incremental adaptation, towards reducing vulnerability and enhancing adaptive capacity and resilience, as well as the collective well-being of all people, the protection of livelihoods and economies, and the preservation and regeneration of nature, for current and future generations, in the context of the temperature goal referred to in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement, and that such efforts should be inclusive in terms of adaptation approaches and taking into account the best available science and the worldviews and values of Indigenous Peoples, to support achievement of the global goal on adaptation;

Calls on Parties to enhance their adaptation efforts in line with what is needed to achieve the goal in Article 2, paragraph 1(b), of the Paris Agreement and the global goal on adaptation, taking into account the framework for the global goal on adaptation referred to in decision -/CMA.5;3

Urges Parties and invites non-Party stakeholders to increase ambition and enhance adaptation action and support, in line with decision -/CMA.5,4 in order to accelerate swift action at scale and at all levels, from local to global, in alignment with other global frameworks, towards the achievement of, inter alia, the following targets by 2030, and progressively beyond:

(a) Significantly reducing climate-induced water scarcity and enhancing climate resilience to water-related hazards towards a climate-resilient water supply, climate-resilient sanitation and access to safe and affordable potable water for all;

(b) Attaining climate-resilient food and agricultural production and supply and distribution of food, as well as increasing sustainable and regenerative production and equitable access to adequate food and nutrition for all;

(c) Attaining resilience against climate change related health impacts, promoting climate-resilient health services, and significantly reducing climate-related morbidity and mortality, particularly in the most vulnerable communities;

(d) Reducing climate impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity and accelerating the use of ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based solutions, including through their management, enhancement, restoration and conservation and the protection of terrestrial, inland water, mountain, marine and coastal ecosystems;



Red Ibero-Americana de Pesca Artesanal de Pequena Escala (RIPAPE)

RIPAPE brings together 25 organizations of fishers from 17 countries

The Red Iberoamericana de Pesca Artesanal de Pequena Escala translates to Ibero-American Network of Small-Scale Artisanal Fishing (RIPAPE) in English. It is made up of over 25 fishing organizations from 15 countries in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Established in May 2020 in the city of Cadiz, it represents more than 20 million artisanal fishers, men and women. It promotes social responsibility in their fishing communities based on the principles of ethical, socio-environmental and economic viability. It also aims for greater visibility and social and political recognition. Its priorities are the fight against climate change, incorporation of gender policies, and improving the quality of life of people in coastal communities dedicated to a sector in which more than 10 per cent of the world’s population works.

RIPAPE seeks to provide a space for strengthening and supporting artisanal fishing organizations, promoting reflection and exchange of experiences that allow for responses to challenges. The projects of 2023 have been based on two objectives: to strengthen projects and improve marketing of quality local products to meet the objective of the 2030 sustainability agenda and enhance the living conditions of artisanal fishermen; and to strengthen the role of women in our communities and identify the social deficiencies of our fishing populations so as to channel demands before governments and international bodies.

The network also works towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 1 (End poverty in all its forms) and SDG 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable fishing). It does that through the identification and differentiation of products in local markets, through improving marketing through the motto ‘fish less, sell better’.

It believes that small-scale fishers’ heritage and cultural values make them stronger; sustainable and biodegradable materials are part of its objectives. Other goals include effectively regulating fishery exploitation; ending over-fishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; addressing fisheries subsidies; increase the economic benefits of sustainable aquaculture; facilitate small-scale fisher’s access to marine resources and markets; and implement the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

As an organization created for the service of small-scale artisanal fishing communities in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, RIPAPE aims to set a benchmark for environmental, economic and social wealth, while preserving the incalculably rich cultural and heritage roots of the region.

By Nicolás Fernández
The Ibero-American Network of Small-Scale Artisanal Fishing (RIPAPE)
Website: Artesanales Lonja de Conil OPP72


Publications and Infographics

Report of the Africa Regional Workshop IYAFA: Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries, 15–18 February 2023, Harajuku Hall, Erata Hotel, Accra, Ghana by Ahana Lakshmi, 2023
The Africa workshop was the third in the series of four regional workshops planned by ICSF in connection with the proclamation of 2022 as the IYAFA by the United Nations.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework: A handbook in support of the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication by FAO, 2023
This handbook aims to support such monitoring and contains a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework for the SSF Guidelines implementation (MEL4SSF).

The Gift of Community: More Essays on Human Experiences of Small-Scale Fisheries by Svein Jentoft, 2023
The ‘The Gift of Community’ is a collection of stories about hope, about the joy of being in the communities, witnessing and learning why small-scale fisheries matter to them.

Small fish for food security and nutrition by Maarten Bavinck et al., 2023
This technical paper brings focus to the often overlooked ‘small fish’ which play an integral role in the food security and nutrition of people living in poverty and the livelihoods of those who harvest, process, market, trade and distribute small fish.


Lost Lands by Yale Environment, 2023
Cambodia-based filmmaker Andy Ball focuses on two families who describe how unchecked mining of river sand for urban development has devastated their fisheries and food-producing wetlands.

The sea and the city: From the eyes of Mumbai’s fishing community film by Lalitha Kamath and Gopal Dubey, 2023
What does it mean to live in the city and yet live amidst wetness? We explore this question through the experiences of Mumbai’s indigenous fishing community, the Kolis, that live amidst the wetness of the Thane Creek, Arabian Sea and Ulhas River and the expanding concrete of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.

A Thousand Hands: Story of Aquafarm Workers by ICSF, 2023
The often-overlooked issue of labour within the aquaculture industry, which has received limited attention in India.

Aquaculture at Crosswaters by ICSF, 2023
Aquaculture at Crosswaters delves into the dynamic emergence of aquaculture in India, with a focus on the states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.


A Human-rights Approach to Fisheries

Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, the United Nations (UN) is again bringing together governments, international institutions and major groups to Rio in June 2012 for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20. This time, the aim is to secure political commitment for sustainable development, assess progress since the Earth Summit, and look ahead 20 years.
The human-rights approach will also:

  • recognize the rights of small-scale fishworkers, indigenous peoples and local communities to the sustainable utilization and protection of their habitats;
  • protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices compatible with conservation or sustainable use;
  • ensure sustainable fisheries conservation, management and development, as well as conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, drawing not only on scientific knowledge but also on the traditional fishery knowledge and technologies of fishing communities and indigenous peoples;
  • empower traditional as well as producer organizations to undertake concurrent management of fishery resources;
  • ensure consultation and effective participation of fishing communities in the conservation, management and sustainable use of living aquatic resources;
  • safeguard the interests of local communities and indigenous peoples in the negotiation and implementation of international agreements on the development or conservation of marine living resources;
  • recognize the social-security rights of fishers and their dependents on par with other workers, respect minimum age for work, recognize the right to safety and health, and the right to protection from work-related sickness or injury of fishers; and
  • assure that policies and practices related to the promotion of international trade do not have adverse impacts on the nutritional rights and needs of local peoples.

A human-rights approach towards sustainable fisheries will sufficiently emphasize the social dimension of sustainable fisheries. It will promote the contribution of marine living resources to eliminate malnutrition. It will recognize the importance of sustainable small-scale and artisanal fisheries, and protect the rights of subsistence, small-scale and artisanal men and women fishers and fishworkers to a secure and just livelihood, and ensure preferential access to their traditional fishing grounds and resources.

Rio+20 hopes to generate solutions for sustainable development also by protecting oceans from overfishing, destruction of marine ecosystems and the adverse effects of climate change. All these could well reduce poverty, promote decent jobs and ensure sustainable and fair use of resources amongst fishing communities. But this will occur only if a human-rights approach towards sustainable fisheries is clearly recognized and factored into policies, legislation and reporting obligations of Member States. We hope Rio+20 will heed this lesson.

– from SAMUDRA Report No. 61, March 2012



High Level Event on Ocean Action: Immersed in Change, 7-8 June 2024, San Jose, Costa Rica

The Third UN Ocean Conference, which will take place in Nice in June 2025. This event will be preceded by a stakeholder meeting in Costa Rica in June 2024, also with NGO participation.


ICSF’s IYAFA 2022-Celebrating Sustainable and Equitable Small-scale Fisheries

IYAFA Europe Regional workshop

IYAFA Latin America and the Caribbean Workshop

IYAFA Africa Workshop

IYAFA Asia Workshop