Eastern and Southern Workshop 2006 and 2008

In October 2001, ICSF, along with the International Ocean Institute (IOI), organized a conference titled Forging Unity: Coastal Communities and the Indian Ocean's Future . It was meant to recognize the long and shared heritage of coastal fishing, seafaring and maritime trading that exists even today between Asian and African countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

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The conference brought together fishworker organizations, NGOs, research institutions, universities and policymakers from 13 countries bordering the Indian Ocean, including the east African countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, as well as South Africa and Seychelles. Based on the opportunity it provided to exchange experiences and identify areas of common concern, the conference recommended that ICSF initiate a programme in east Africa along the same lines. This workshop is the outcome of that recommendation. It aims to identify key fisheries issues in eastern and southern Africa and also bring together various stakeholders to discuss policies for sustainable fisheries development.

The organizers of this workshop, ICSF, MDT, and WIOMSA, in collaboration with the WFFP, feel that if such an approach is to be applied to the small-scale, artisanal and subsistence fishing sectors, it needs to take full account of the intrinsic characteristics of the sector, its social and cultural aspects, and human rights implications.

In addition to addressing the above issues, this 2008 Eastern and Southern African (ESA) Workshop is designed to provide continuity to the ESA 2006 workshop (held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in March 2006), and help strengthen regional exchanges on rights issues in fisheries, and to raise awareness of the link between global processes, regional initiatives and local realities.

The 2008 workshop provided an opportunity to inform local communities in the ESA Region about the October 2008 FAO-Thailand Global Conference on Small-scale Fisheries, to be held in Bangkok, and to enable them to prepare for the Conference. This is particularly important given that the conference will have a special focus on the issue of securing access and user rights by small-scale fishers, indigenous peoples, and fishing communities to coastal and fishery resources that sustain their livelihoods.

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