A delegation from The World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) is gearing up to attend the 32nd session of the Food and Agriculture Organisations of the United Nations (FAOUN) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) conference.

The 32nd session of COFI will take place from July 11 to 15 in Rome, Italy.

Attending the conference will be Naseegh Jaffer, Mandy Booys and Carsten Pedersen representing the WFFP secretariat.

The secretariat was invited by the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC). The IPC is a mechanism for facilitating the participation of Civil Society Organisation representatives in FAO governing bodies. Prior to the commencement of the official COFI meeting, CSO representatives will gather to meet, plan and strategise regarding agenda matters.

“One of the issues that will be discussed at COFI is the Small Scale Fishing Guidelines,” commented Mandy Booys.

“The overall purpose of this agenda matter is to enhance the empowerment of small-scale fishing communities leading to improved livelihoods,” she stated further.

COFI, is a subsidiary body of the FAO Council, it was established by the FAO Conference at its thirteenth Session in 1965. The Committee presently constitutes the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined and recommendations addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fish workers, and to FAO itself. COFI has also been used as a forum in which global agreements and non-binding instruments were negotiated.

COFI membership is open to any FAO Member and non-Member eligible to be an observer of the Organisation. Representatives of the UN, UN bodies and specialized agencies, regional fishery bodies, international and international non-governmental organisations participate in the debate, but without the right to vote.

The Committee has held 29 sessions. The First Session in 1966, and thereafter annually till 1975. Since 1977 the sessions have been held biennially.

“The two main functions of COFI are to review the programmes of work of FAO in the field of fisheries and aquaculture and their implementation, and to conduct periodic general reviews of fishery and aquaculture problems of an international character and appraise such problems and their possible solutions with a view to concerted action by nations, by FAO, inter-governmental bodies and the civil society.” FAO, 2016

According to the FAO website COFI also reviews specific matters relating to fisheries and aquaculture referred to it by the Council or the Director-General of FAO, or placed by the Committee on its agenda at the request of Members, or the United Nations General Assembly.

“In its work, the Committee supplements rather than supplants other organizations working in the field of fisheries and aquaculture.” FAO 2016

The Hook will report on the outcome of the COFI meeting in the next week.

For more information about COFI visit: http://www.fao.org/unfao/govbodies/gsbhome/committee-fi/en/

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