Accra, Aug. 8, GNA – The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) guidelines is to address key challenges in the fishing sector.
The VGGT guidelines were unanimously endorsed on May 11, 2012 by the UN Committee on World Food Security as an international instrument that can be used by many different actors to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forest.
It is a voluntary and not legally binding instrument.
Mr Benjamin Adjei, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Assistant Representative in charge of Programmes, said the guidelines was to serve as a reference and to provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests.
Mr Adjei speaking at the opening of a two-day media workshop, said the livelihoods of Small-Scale fishing folks would be improved with the effective implementation of these guidelines.
He said guidelines have an overarching goal of achieving food security for all and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
The workshop is to strengthen the capacity of media organizations and journalists to improve reporting on VGGT and Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF-Guidelines) with particular application to the management and protection of fish landing and processing sites in the face of intense pressures for land-use changes along the coast.
The event being organised by Friends of the Nation (FoN), a Non-Governmental Organisation in collaboration with FAO is also to prepare journalists to support advocacy for policy reforms on securing and documentation of fish landing sites to contribute to sustainable fisheries livelihoods.
He said the general principles were to recognize and respect all legitimate tenure right holders and their rights.
He said they should take reasonable measures to identify, record and respect legitimate tenure right holders and their rights, whether formally recorded or not; to refrain from infringement of tenure rights of others and to meet the duties associated with tenure rights.
Mr Adjei said it was also to safeguard legitimate tenure rights against threats and infringements and promote and facilitate the enjoyment of legitimate tenure rights.
The FAO Assistant Representative said it was to provide access to justice to deal with infringements of legitimate tenure rights and prevent tenure disputes, violent conflicts and corruption.
Madam Yaa Danso, National Programme Assistant, FAO Regional Office for Africa, said with the understanding of the SSF guidelines, journalists could create awareness and explain issues better to the public.
She said « it will also enable them to effectively communicate to policymakers and stakeholders. »
She said if journalists play their roles well, they could help stakeholders to ensure sustainability in the fishing sector.
Mr Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah, Programmes Manager, FON, said as part of their capacity building, they have organised media engagement, produced video documentaries and organise national multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.
He said the organisation had also organised capacity strengthening workshop for fishing communities, advocacy and sensitisation activities.