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Applying coherently the human rights-based approach to small-scale fisheries for achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

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  • SSF Guidelines,
  • small-scale fishers,
  • United Nations,
  • FAO,
  • women,
  • children,
  • IYAFA,
  • 2022
Target Group
  • Community workers,
  • Entrepreneurs,
  • Policy makers,
  • Researchers,
  • Students,
  • Teachers
  • English
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This policy brief, published in 2022, considers the human rights-based approach to small-scale fisheries in the context of international frameworks.

The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) (FAO, 2015) were adopted in 2014 by consensus of Member States of the Committee on Fisheries of the FAO. They recognize the need to uphold small-scale fishers’ human rights. Implementing the SSF Guidelines in accordance with a human rights-based approach means ensuring the protection and promotion of all human rights of small-scale fishers, fishworkers and their communities in a coherent manner. This requires ensuring specific guarantees for children’s human rights, gender equality, the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and peasants, and the protection of environmental human rights defenders in the small-scale fisheries sector.

Coherent protection of the human rights of small-scale fishers contributes to the realization of multiple Sustainable Development Goals and also benefits everyone’s human right to a healthy environment.  In support of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) 2022, continuous work is needed to:

  • raise awareness of the human rights challenges that small-scale fishers, fishworkers and their communities face, including those of marginalized groups within them;
  • build new and strengthen existing partnerships around the coherent protection of human rights in the sector; and
  • provide a platform to amplify the voices of human rights-holders in the small-scale fisheries sector.