The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) has announced an initiative to create more focus on gender equality and social inclusion within the region’s tuna fisheries sector.
Announcing the initiative as part of FFA’s new five-year Strategic Plan, FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, said while FFA has had gender-related policies in place since 2016, more must be done to ensure women and minority groups can fully participate in the tuna fisheries sector.
“We need to make every effort to understand the specific barriers faced by women and other marginalised demographic groups in the fisheries supply chain, so policies and practices are more intentionally inclusive,” Dr Tupou-Roosen said.
“What’s missing from our tuna fisheries work is regular gender and social inclusion analysis. Without this data, it remains difficult to understand the role and relations of women and minority groups within the broader fisheries supply chain.”
Dr Tupou-Roosen noted that sustainable fisheries are vital for achieving food and nutrition security, alleviating poverty, enhancing economic growth, and delivering social development.
“Data that better quantifies the contributions of women, people with disabilities and other relevant demographic groups will provide a platform for more inclusive policies and decision-making processes. This initiative will enable FFA to influence transformative change in the Pacific region.”
In early September, a workshop on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) was hosted at FFA which involved all employees. The “Walking the Talk” session was aimed at building a common understanding of gender equality and social inclusion within the context of FFA’s work.
“The workshop was very valuable,” said Dr Tupou-Roosen. “It has helped all of us at FFA develop a deeper understanding of how discrimination or bias related to gender and other factors such as age, ethnicity, socio-economic background, religion and disability can prevent certain groups contributing to decision-making or accessing opportunities.”
FFA hopes to support a range of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion training and awareness workshops in future within its Membership countries and the wider regional fisheries sector. The Agency is also planning a Gender Forum in Fisheries in 2021, to develop strategies for greater inclusion.