NOUADHIBOU, 26-28 January 2016. For generations, Mauritania’s rich fishing grounds have been source of employment, income and protein for the Mauritanian population. The marine resources of the country even attract fishing vessels from very remote locations to fish in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Yet, for several years now, concerns about the way the country’s resources are managed have been growing amongst the actors of the fisheries sector. All these years, those actors have been advocating in favor of a sustainable resource management, unique solution to guarantee that future generations will be able to continue benefiting from the wealth of the ocean. In particular, the lack of information regarding the way the resource is exploited has been one of the central concerns.
In January 2015, the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania announced the launch of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI). This was based on the vision that the FiTI would not only increase transparency of fisheries in Mauritania but also at the global level. Inspired by the model of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the FiTI echoes what the actors of the fisheries sector have long been advocating for.
Since this announcement, the sector’s stakeholders have put in place several activities to facilitate the implementation of the FiTI in Mauritania.
As the conceptual phase of the FiTI continues its progress at the international level, an Information and Sensitization Workshop of all actors concerned by the FiTI was organized in Nouadhibou/Mauritania on 26-28 January 2016. In conformity with the virtuous triangle anchored in the characteristics of the FiTI, the meeting welcomed representatives of the Mauritanian Government (Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy as well as Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development), the Industry, the Civil Society and Academia.
Amongst others, the goals of the meeting were to sensitize the actors to the FiTI; to think of the next steps to implement the initiative at the national level; to share experiences with regards to transparency and good governance; and to reflect on the formation of a National Multi-Stakeholder Group in Mauritania. Organized one week before the 1st International Conference of the FiTI — expected to take place in Nouakchott on February 3rd 2016 — the workshop also aimed at contributing to the preparatory work of the Conference.
At the end of the Workshop, participants formulated a certain number of concrete suggestions and recommendations for a successful implementation of the FiTI in Mauritania, notably with regards to the formation of the FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group, the next step for the country in 2016. For this purpose, the workshop organizers had invited the Ministry of Fisheries and the Maritime Economy to present its strategy 2015-2019 – in which governance is an important pillar – as well as a representative of the National Committee of the EITI to present the lessons learnt of the EITI in Mauritania.
All strongly in favor of the implementation of the initiative in Mauritania, the participants expressed their motivation and commitment to see the country set an example for other countries and the international community in implementing the FiTI.
The recommendations elaborated during the workshop are available in French here.