By Pascal Kwesiga
FISHERIES officials and government representatives from 11 countries in Eastern Africa are meeting in Kampala on Tuesday to review the contribution of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) phase II fish program in strengthening fisheries management.
Funded by the European Commission (EC), the program that started in 2009 in over 70 ACP countries was also aimed at contributing to poverty alleviation efforts and improving food security through sustainable and equitable management of fisheries resources in the beneficiary countries.
Under the €30m five year program that winds up in November, the fisheries sectors in the beneficiary countries were supposed to identify, formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate projects aimed at improving the contribution of the fisheries sectors to national wealth through increased exports.
The projects were to be implemented under the following components; improved fisheries policies, legislation and management plans at regional and national level, strengthened monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) capabilities, enhanced national and regional research strategies, improved business support and private sector investment and increased knowledge sharing on management and trade.
The ACP program regional manager from Eastern Africa, Koane Mindjimba noted that regional workshop that will be attended by program’s focal officials from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tanzania at Hotel Africana will provide an opportunity for them to analyse the outcomes and possible impact of the projects.
“The final assessment of the programme activities in the region will be an opportunity to identify areas for action in the future, not only the needs resulting from ACP Fish II intervention, but also new needs which is not linked to the Programme at all,” he added.
Mindjimba said the recommendations of the meeting will be presented to governments and funders to consider the next step of action.
He explained that the two days’ workshop that will be attended by donors is expected to call for secure new funding to address challenges hindering the fisheries sectors in the beneficiary countries from making significant contribution to national wealth through export earnings, employment creation, food security and alleviation of poverty.
Fisheries officials to review fish projects