UN bodies commit to supporting sustainable fisheries


A drive towards sustainable management of global fishing resources has been given a boost by the joint commitment of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the 2030 Agenda.

Under this Goal, three targets explicitly focus on the trade-related aspects of fisheries: Target 4 (fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, fish stocks management and restoration); Target 6 (phasing out certain fisheries subsidies); and Target 14b (access to markets and resources by small scale and artisanal fishermen).

The voluntary commitment was announced by Mukhisa Kituyi (Secretary-General, UNCTAD), Erik Solheim (Executive Director, UNEP) and Árni M. Mathiesen (Assistant Director-General, FAO) during UNCTAD’s joint “Fisheries subsidies: The path toward a sustainable global agreement” at the UN Ocean Conference held at the UN headquarters in New York at the start of June 2017.

Addressing harmful fisheries subsidies is not a stand-alone issue and a holistic approach is necessary in order to advance sustainability and development, according to the UN.

“In the context of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other relevant international instruments, UNCTAD, FAO and UNEP stand ready to work with countries and donors to provide capacity building and technical assistance on fisheries, trade, environment and development,” says a joint statement by the three bodies.

“By facilitating a comprehensive understanding of the trade-related aspects of SDG 14, the joint effort between UNCTAD, UNEP and FAO aims to improve countries’ capacity to shift towards more resource efficient and sustainable pathways.

“Countries will be supported to better position themselves within relevant trade negotiations and to undertake internal policy and regulatory reform aligned with SDG 14 targets,” it adds.


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Issued by Siyathetha Communications on behalf of the South African International Maritime Institute.

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