“Fish is an important factor in rural development”

Expert Forum | 21/22. May 2014 | Spreespeicher, Berlin, Germany

Last year the EU passed reforms on its common fisheries policy, which is also viewed as a milestone from a development-policy standpoint. The role of fisheries in development cooperation was the topic of the annual European Fisheries Development Advisors Network (EFDAN) Conference held in Berlin on 21 and 22 of May. EFDAN Group members were joined by experts from politics, civil society, the scientific community, and the private sector from Europe and its partner countries.

The event offered opportunities for discussing how better coordinated policy measures could help the fisheries sector contribute to food security and economic development. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) hosted this year’s conference. The Development Policy Forum organised the event and the “Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture” Sector Project was involved in content development.

Dr Stefan Schmitz, Head of the “For a World without Hunger” Special Initiative at the BMZ, detailed the exceptional importance of fisheries, especially for people in developing countries. Around 2.8 billion people worldwide depended on fish products as a food source, fishing generated income and jobs and, in many countries, represented the livelihood of a great number of people, according to Schmitz. The fisheries sector not only contributed to a high quality and healthy diet; fish was also the most-traded food product traded the world over and a key factor in rural development, he noted, citing these as the reasons the BMZ would focus on the issue more intensively.

Additional panellists included Dr Christophe Béné from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Dr Sloans Chimatrio, Senior Fisheries Advisor at NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), Dr Hamaday Diop from the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) in West Africa, Isabelle Viallon from the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO) and Kristofer Du Rietz from the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE).

In his recap of the one-and-a-half-day event, Tim Sauler from the “For a World without Hunger” Special Initiative at the BMZ called on experts from developing and donor countries to continue to work on fisheries’ behalf to ensure the topic received the attention it deserved in development cooperation.

The event was organised by the Development Policy Forum on behalf of the BMZ.

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