On 27 November 2015, the CoCooN Conference took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, Netherlands.

The programme Conflict and Cooperation over Natural resources in developing countries (CoCooN) explores the issues contained in the name.

The outcomes will contribute to evidence-based policy, interventions and practices so that natural resources benefit sustainable development and poverty reduction (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), 2015).

The conference was an exchange event between development activists, researchers and organisations from the different sectors who are part of this programme.

This exchange was held at the Institute for Social Studies in the Netherlands (25-27 November) and two Masifundise members Naseegh Jaffer and Mandla Gqamlana took part.

How can CoCooN contribute to make policies more conflict sensitive? What can we learn from research in a concerted effort of civic actors and academics? These were some of the questions participants were expected to address.

“This exchange was hugely valuable as it brought together people doing similar work in various other sectors. It was attended by development workers from all corners of the world and was rich on sharing and learning from each other,” commented Naseegh Jaffer.

At this event the REINCORPFISH project was regarded as a flagship of this programme. This was largely because of the successes of the adoption of a new Small-scale fishing policy in South Africa and the changes in the legislation.

“Masifundise played a significant role in this through its work with Coastal Links and community mobilisation towards finalising the new policy and legislation,” Jaffer continued.

This activism work was supported by the Environmental and Evaluation Unit (EEU) through their research work and publication of various policy briefings and related articles.

The REINCORPFISH is a project funded by the Dutch government, aimed at efforts to reincorporate fishers into the mainstream through policy research and advocacy work. It is part of the much broader CoCooN programme.

“The CoCoon Conference offers a critical learning space for policy makers, researchers and civic actors” (NOW website, 2015).

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