The World Social Forum is sitting in Tunisia bringing together small-scale food producers from around the world.
The forum started on 24 March and will finish on 28 March.
Masifundise Development Trust’s Carsten Pedersen, representing the World Forum of Fisher Peoples told the Hook that he would speak at a ‘convergence session’ this week on land and water/ocean grabbing. This is perpetrated by elites who privatise resources meant for the common good.
“The convergence sessions aim at bringing together social movements of peasants, pastoralists, women, indigenous people and others in the fight against unjust policies imposed upon small-scale food producers,” said Carsten.
Coastal Links South Africa’s National Chairperson Christian Adams is also in attendance and addressed a session yesterday.
His presentation dealt with local struggles for the rights to water, land and fish.
In his presentation, Christian explained the struggles fishers went through when they fought against individual quotas that were introduced by the 2005 fishing policy.
The World Social Forum seeks to strengthen and create new national and international links among organisations and movements of societies.
“This is another unique opportunity for Coastal Links to share experiences with social movements from across the world and across sectors,” continued Carsten.
The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action.
This is a forum by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neoliberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism (World Social Forum, 2015).
The session on Convergence of Land and Water Struggles the World Social Forum was well attended by 200 people from social movements across the globe. Christian Adams, and Carsten Pedersen were the only delegates to speak specifically about fisheries.The majority of the delegates represented peasants, herders, indigenous peoples, and other social movements. Masifundise’s partners Transnational Institute (TNI) and Africa Contact (Denmark) also participated in the session.
According to Christian Adams, the WSF is an unique opportunity to promote the human rights of small-scale fishers globally, “By telling our story about how Coastal Links South Africa, I not only put our coastal fishing communities, like Langebaan, on the world map. I also share our struggle and give inspiration. But for us, as Coastal Links, get to realise that we are not alone in the struggle against neo-liberalism” says Christian Adams
Carsten Pedersen gave a talk on the International Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries. Presenting at the session on international instruments, he emphasised that while the guidelines are not yet implemented, it still gives the WFFP an opportunity to influence fisheries governance reforms.
He highlighted the case of the FAO UserRights currently taking place in Cambodia, “our engagement with the FAO in the process of planning the conference in Cambodia, gave the WFFP an opportunity to push for the guidelines and its principles to become integrated in the programme” he said.
The fact that the framing of the conference now makes explicit reference to these and the Tenure Guidelines, reaffirms that the guidelines can and must be used when advocating for the livelihoods and human rights of small-scale fishers across the world.
The International Secretariat of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples is based with Masifundise, South Africa.