The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been urged to allow easy access to its newly introduced Fisheries Funding Mechanism, targeted at growing the fishing capacity of developing countries.
The concept was introduced on Tuesday by WTO Director General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the organisation’s 12th Ministerial conference in Geneva.
According to Okonjo- Iweala, the initiative aims at ensuring the availability of fishing subsidy for the sustenance of the sector globally.
Speaking at the conference, HE Mrs. Usha Chandnee Dwarka- Canabady, the Mauritanian Ambassador stressed the need for the funds to be accessible to eligible nations in the simplest manner possible.
She said that the funding would only be measured by its effectiveness and efficiency in the near future and so, she called for the sustainability of the project.
She disclosed that although “Mauritius’ terrestrial scope is like a small dot, it has a sea as wide as the size of Germany and France combined” and is challenged by how to control the vast terrain because of capacity constraints.
She therefore urged beneficiaries of the fund to prioritise data collection, monitoring and transparency to grow the sector.
Earlier, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that the mechanism had received a pledge of 5 million dollars from donors against the projected 10 million dollars.
She emphasised that Article 7 of the funding draft text explicitly conveys the rudiments criteria and actions for the fisheries funding.
On his part, the Minister of Fisheries for the European Union, Virginijus Sinkevicius said that WTO’s effort at establishing a fishing funding structure “is a shared obligation from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 14.6” .
The Minister who stated that the agreement on fishing subsidy is the WTO opportunity to contribute to the sustainability of the oceans for the generations to come, added that fishing is fundamental for coastal communities and many governments.
He however added that poor Fishing management structures have adversely affected the sector, diminishing fisheries especially for those who rely on fishing for their livelihood and nutrition.
Calling on African nations to comply with the standards introduced by the initiative, he maintained that the region stands to gain as the fishery sector is a main source of protein, employment, income in coastal communities and foreign exchange earnings.
TNMN reports that the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FOA), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Bank Group (WBG) would serve as key principal partners to the fisheries subsidy.
Many European and Asian countries were present at the WTO 12th conference. From Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Seychelles and others were in attendance.