Developing new partnerships for protecting small-scale fishers' human rights
CEESP News: Elisa Morgera, Director, One Ocean Hub, and Professor of Global Environmental Law at University of Strathclyde Law School, Glasgow (UK) and CEESP member
The One Ocean Hub, a global research coalition, is co-developing partnerships at different scales, between fishers' representatives and advocates, researchers, civil society, and UN bodies, to identify better ways to protect small-scale fishers' human rights.
The One Ocean Hub is an international programme of research for sustainable development, pioneering research on human rights and the marine environment with a view to better connecting marine and social sciences, and the arts, to promote fair and inclusive decision-making for a healthy ocean whereby people and the planet can flourish. The One Ocean Hub aims to transform our response to the urgent challenges facing our ocean and influence decisions and practices that shape the future of the ocean by promoting sustainability and justice. Our research seeks to bridge current disconnections in law, science and society and integrate governance frameworks to balance multiple ocean uses with conservation. We bring together coastal people, researchers, decision makers, civil society, and international organisations to value, and learn from, different forms of knowledge and voices. Our 126 researchers specifically address challenges and opportunities in South Africa, Namibia and Ghana, as well as cross-regional learning with the University of West Indies and the University of the South Pacific. The One Ocean Hub is led by the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK), and has 18 partner organisations and 21 research partners across the world. The Hub is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
The One Ocean Hub, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), are joining efforts to strengthen the recognition and protection of human rights of small-scale fishers and their communities during the IYAFA. This collaboration is meant to:
- advance understanding of the multiple human rights issues facing small-scale fishers, fishworkers and their communities;
- support the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication;
- support a more holistic protection of these rights, in order to ensure SDG synergies and co-benefits; and
- connect existing research and action on these issues, with a view to expanding partnerships.
The One Ocean Hub and FAO have made progress on these issues in the past two years by:
- developing a Legal and Policy Diagnostic Tool to conduct an assessment of existing national legal and policy frameworks, with the purpose of identifying misalignments with the SSF Guidelines and with international human rights law. The Diagnostic Tool should be used together with the FAO Legislative Guide that provide guidance on how to align national frameworks with the SSF Guidelines. (see also here and here);
- developing two e-learning courses: one addressed to government officials and advocates on legislating on small-scale fisheries in accordance with the ecosystem and human rights-based approach; and the other addressed to small-scale fishers on relying on their human rights in addressing challenges and barriers to their access to resources, decision-making processes and markets;
- clarifying the interplay of the SSF Guidelines and the UN Declaration on the Human Rights of Peasants;
- drawing attention to the cultural rights and cultural heritage of small-scale fishers, as well as the challenges in exercising their right to public participation, at World Oceans Week 2021;
- with UNEP, fostering recognition of small-scale fishers as environmental human rights defenders;
- integrating questions and recent findings on the human rights of small-scale fishers in the inaugural UNEP Winter-Summer School on Human Rights and the Environment;
- exploring the challenges in protecting both procedural and substantive human rights of small-scale fishers in the times of COVID, as part of a capacity-building programme for the Nippon Fellowship Alumni Network, which comprises over 200 ocean practitioners from the Global South supported by the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (see also here); and
- Exploring the human rights-based approach in the context of the implementation and monitoring of the SSF Guidelines.
On 6th June 2022, High-Level Event for World Oceans Week (WOW) 2022 titled “Exploring Challenges, Opportunities and Alliances for the Protection of Small-scale Fishers’ Human Rights” was organized by the One Ocean Hub, in close collaboration with FAO and OHCHR, with the first-ever message to WOW from the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the participation of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment. The event served to explore the challenges, opportunities and alliances among all interested stakeholders, including small-scale fishers, and across all levels of governance, with a view to enhance the recognition, protection and promotion of small-scale fishers’ human rights. The roundtable explored the need for a comprehensive understanding of the human rights of small-scale fishers and how different mandates across the United Nations System. To watch the recording of the event, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaBnVZQS6_o
The key messages from the event will be delivered at the UN Ocean Conference, where the One Ocean Hub has been invited to act as Lead Discussant at the Interactive Dialogue 4: “Making Fisheries Sustainable and Providing Access for Small Scale Artisanal Fishers to Marine Resources and Markets” on Wednesday 29 June, 1PM-6PM - Altice Arena, Tejo Hall, Lisbon, Portugal.
In addition, the Hub, FAO and UNOHCHR will organize a workshop on the protection of the right to food of small-scale fishers, fish workers and their communities through synergies between the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines, the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, bringing together national human rights institutions and possibly also UN Special Rapporteurs (Environment, Climate, Food, Culture) in the second half of 2022.
The Hub looks forward to engaging with the IUCN Specialist Group on People and the Ocean and other partners in bring clarity on the content of the human rights-based approach to small-scale fisheries and build the capacities of fisheries-related communities of practice to protect human rights in their work.
The Hub and other partners will further explore the key messages from the World Oceans Week event in a series of webinars next week, as part of the UNEP Winter/Summer School on Human Rights and the Environment .
THE HUMAN RIGHTS DIMENSIONS OF OCEAN CRIMES AND THEIR IMPACT ON SMALL-SCALE FISHERS
20 June, 5pm CEST
CRITICAL HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES AT THE OCEAN-CLIMATE NEXUS
21 JUNE, 10AM-11:30 CEST
PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS OF SMALL-SCALE ARTISANAL FISHING ACTORS AND ACHIEVING MULTIPLE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
23 JUNE, 10 AM-11:30 AM CEST
DEFENDING THE OCEAN AT THE KELP ROOTS: STORIES FROM SMALL SCALE FISHER OCEAN DEFENDERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
28THJUNE, 8AM CEST