In Southeast Asia, environmental degradation, overcapacity (illegal and destructive fishing) and threats from climate variability and climate change are seen as the significant problems for fisheries and aquatic habitats, threatening their sustainability and the livelihoods of the millions of people dependent on these resources. Through earlier Sida (current name is Sweden) support, SEAFDEC in cooperation with the ASEAN (under the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Strategic Partnership (ASSP)) and the ASEAN countries have been implementing regional collaborative programs to clarify regional policies and priorities as well as to support national efforts in addressing habitat and fisheries management and the management of fishing capacity.
The SEAFDEC-Sweden project (2013-2019) is building upon on the earlier work done under the SEAFDEC-Sweden cooperation. The ultimate targets of the Project are the poor coastal and inland communities who continue to experience declining catch as well as increased competition and conflict over natural resource use and space in coastal and inland waters of Southeast Asia. In a broader context, beneficiaries will also include staff of governments (local and central), NGOs, and international and regional organizations. The beneficiaries will be provided with support and guidance through collaborative arrangements supported by SEAFDEC-Sweden, in the process of developing better management of fisheries and important habitats in national and sub-regional contexts.
The basic strategy of the SEAFDEC-Sweden project is to build upon the expressed needs to improve social well-being and environmental health, by promoting processes to improve the management of fisheries, fishing capacity and better management of aquatic environments and habitats of importance for key species. To incorporate all relevant aspects (social, governance and aquatic resources/environment) an ecosystems approach will be applied. This includes management matters, such as (larger) fish resources conservation areas (e.g. building upon MPAs, refugia, etc), management of fishing capacity (combating IUU Fishing), social mobility and conflicts, etc. The perspective include the establishment of sub-regional agreements or other arrangements of relevance to fisheries and habitat management in the Gulf of Thailand; Andaman Sea and to support processes for the cooperation among countries in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas and the Mekong River Region.
As part of the SEAFDEC-Sweden Project Strategy, the project will not be implemented by SEAFDEC in isolation but will rely on cooperation with other regional/international and national bodies. In order to address issues related to the management of important habitats for fisheries, fishing capacity and socio-cultural aspects, SEAFDEC will work closely with institutions and organizations that are well placed to facilitate and support provincial and district capacity-building. The strategy also involves capacity building for better management, including the capacity to engage more effectively with villagers in ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries (plus Timor-Leste), which implies the involvement of broad stakeholder participation.
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