There has been an acknowledged need for capacity building of African Union Member States as an accepted development theory in decision-making and participation in International Ocean negotiations. AU-IBAR and AUDA-NEPAD jointly organised the second meeting of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Platform and training in negotiating skills in Seychelles from 15 to 17 February, 2023 in response to the need for improved negotiating skills and participant recommendations from the last SIDS meeting held in August, 2022.
The absence of active engagement in International Ocean negotiations by African Nations is indicative of the skills gap in negotiation. Some Countries have failed to approve or execute International Instruments. The capacity of Governments to implement important International Agreements and Africa's voice must be reinforced. The consolidation of collaboration and coordination mechanisms, effective participation, and articulation of a unified African voice in Global fora such as climate change and Ocean governance require improvement.
AU-IBAR (the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources) is currently implementing the second phase of the Fisheries Governance Project (FishGov2) which aims to enhance the contribution of its member states towards sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in order to achieve its objectives set out in the AU Agenda 2063. The projects are funded by the European Union (EU) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) respectively.
Some of the specific objectives of the project is to ensure that Africa represented and effectively participates in international fisheries and aquaculture fora.
In order to achieve that, AU Member States, including SIDS (Small Island Developing States), must have the capacity to negotiate on international level and there needs to be a mechanism in place to coordinate African common positions with several activities including:
· The identification of specific needs of African SIDS and Madagascar and that these are into account in international fora and
· The enhancement of capacities on international issues and organization of specific training for pre-identified negotiators.
Hence, the AU-IBAR is organizing the 2nd Meeting of the African SIDS Platform and Workshop from the 15th February 2023 to the 17th February 2023 in Seychelles.
Additionally, the workshop seeks to consolidate the outcomes and recommendations of the first meeting that happened in August 2022 and to chart the way forward for strategic positions to ensure increased contribution to food and nutritional security, poverty alleviation and economic growth consistent with the Malabo Declaration that called for action on transformation of African agriculture by 2025.
Other specific objectives of the workshop includes:
In the above regards the FishGov2 and Biodiversity Projects with funding from EU and SIDA will co-organize the meeting in Seychelles with the following key objectives to:
· Consolidate the outcomes and recommendations of the first meeting of the AU-SIDS Platform and chart the way forward for strategic positions;
· Enhance the capacities of AU-SIDS and other pre-identified negotiators - in terms of international negotiations;
· Formulate a mechanism to coordinate African common positions and enhanced African voice at Global Fora for fisheries, aquaculture, aquatic biodiversity, environmental sustainability and climate change related regimes;
· Enrich and validate the final report of the consultancy on Identification of specific issues relevant to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and draft strategic positions and recommendations for the establishment/strengthening a platform of Small Island Developing States (SIDS);
· Enhance awareness and build capacity among stakeholders on the importance of the various regimes, relevant provisions, challenges and mechanisms for effective role and participation in global regimes;
Estimated 35 invited participants to the Workshop would comprise of delegates representing Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome & Principe including Madagascar; Southern African Development Community (SADC); Regional Projects in Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy; Regional Sea Conventions (RSAs); African Union Centres of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture (AU-COEs); Experts (Trainees and Trainers); AU-IBAR Consultants; Development Partners and relevant staff from the AU-IBAR.
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