La Paz, 29 June 2021. The government of Bolivia, through the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) to strengthen knowledge and compliance with international standards of transparency in fisheries management.
Our ocean is under increasing threat from myriad impacts, including climate change, pollution and overfishing. These challenges are not only a major concern for coastal countries, but for humanity as a whole. While all countries have rights to use marine resources, there are also responsibilities for their sustainable use. This principle has been strongly embraced by Bolivia with today’s signing of an official Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency of Bolivia and the FiTI.
The collaboration with the Bolivian government is clearly unique, due to the country’s status as a landlocked state. Yet, in its capacity as a flag State, which includes a registry of international fishing vessels, Bolivia assumes important rights as well as obligations towards the sustainable management of fisheries.
The joint activities are aimed at strengthening the understanding of international transparency requirements for flag States, the identification of responsibilities as well as the publication of recommendations for enhancing transparency in the management of Bolivia’s vessel registry. This will be detailed in relation to the FiTI Standard, the only internationally recognised framework regarding government transparency for fisheries management, as well as other international transparency requirements in marine fisheries, e.g. as determined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
The MoU signing ceremony was held today in La Paz, Bolivia with the participation of the Minister of Justice and Institutional Transparency, Dr Ivan Lima Magne, the Vice-Minister of Institutional Transparency and Fight against Corruption, Ms. Susana Rios, the FiTI Executive Director Mr Sven Biermann (virtual) and the FiTI Coordinator for Latin America, Mr Martin Zapata. Among the guests were Bolivian government authorities, representatives of international organisations, and a large number of media representatives.
In his official remarks, Minister Lima emphasized that ‘We are grateful to start this collaboration with FiTI. Bolivia is committed to the use of its flag under principles of transparency to support sustainable fisheries’. Mr Sven Biermann stressed that Bolivia is the first landlocked country in the world to assume a clear commitment in the study and understanding of international transparency standards applicable to flag states, in addition to being the first Latin American country to formalize a cooperation with FiTI.
It was clearly noted by all participants that this collaboration generates great opportunities for flag States like Bolivia. It also sets an example in the Latin American region, where fisheries play a fundamental role in economic and social development, but there is still a long way to go towards greater transparency.