Humanity has always faced social, economic and environmental challenges. The challenges change over time, depending on the needs of the moment. Currently, humanity is working to solve challenges to ensure that people have the same opportunities for development and well-being, taking into account social (access to basic services), economic (eradication of poverty and decent jobs) and environmental (sustainability in the use of natural resources) needs.
One of the ways to identify how we are doing and where we can improve is the 2030 Agenda, which was approved in 2015 by the United Nations. This document is an action plan to achieve the goals proposed for the year 2030 for the 193 countries that have committed to it, in order to reduce inequalities and face climate change.
The 2030 Agenda is made up of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), covering the most urgent needs and challenges of humanity such as the fight against poverty (SDG1), zero hunger (SDG2), gender equality (SDG5), action for the climate (SDG13) among others.
Notably, it is SDG 14 “Underwater Life” which promotes the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources, highlighting their crucial role for planetary health. However, this objective goes far beyond the conservation of the oceans, recognizing that people and coastal communities that depend on fishing play a fundamental role in human well-being, due to their contributions to food security, combatting poverty, job creation and maintaining culture.
Given that we cannot achieve the sustainable use of the oceans and marine ecosystems without a just and inclusive vision, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) together with the member countries, adopted the Voluntary Guidelines to achieve the Sustainability of Small-scale fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). Under a human rights approach, this instrument covers various important aspects in order to achieve a dignified life for the small-scale fishing sector, through recognizing the importance of access to resources, decent employment conditions, participation in decision-making spaces, among others.
To monitor compliance with the SDGs, as well as the SSF Guidelines, it is essential to measure the contributions of the countries and different stakeholders (communities, civil society organizations and government). What are the advantages for small-scale fisheries to measure their contributions?
It helps to socialize the knowledge of these instruments.
· A feeling of collective responsibility is generated among men and women in the small-scale fisheries sector.
· It represents a strategy to demand a greater commitment from the authorities to achieve the implementation of the development agenda, with special emphasis on the SSF Guidelines.
· It reaffirms the key role of small-scale fisheries for the sustainability of the oceans on a global scale.
Finally, we invite you to help make visible the efforts that men and women in the fishing sector carry out on a daily basis in the implementation of the SSF Guidelines, starting with a more in-depth understanding of each of these, through a series of contributions, soon to be published in this space.