During its 18th meeting, the FiTI International Board – the global oversight body of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) – voiced its concerns about the lack of progress of Senegal to become a FiTI Candidate country and urged national authorities to complete the remaining sign-up steps, after a considerable period of inaction.
Senegal initiated the process of joining the FiTI with a public commitment by H.E. Macky SALL, President of the Republic of Senegal, in February 2016, during the 1st FiTI International Conference in in Nouakchott/Mauritania. Given the country’s public commitment in accordance with Section A.1 of the FiTI Standard, Senegal is listed as one of the current seven FiTI countries, referred to as a committed country. Since then, the country has made little progress in finalising the remaining sign-up steps, despite significant endeavours from the FiTI International Secretariat, its partners and other national and international stakeholders.
A key obstacle in moving Senegal forward remains the pending legal decree for the FiTI, which needs to be issued either by the President of Senegal, the Prime Minister or an appointed senior government official. This degree, seen as essential, would provide a legal framework for the FiTI and appoint the FiTI Lead Ministry within the government. Afterwards, the country must establish its National Multi-Stakeholder Group (comprising of representatives from Senegal’s government, industrial and artisanal fisheries, and civil society organisations), appoint a National Secretariat to provide operational assistance to the group and determine its workplan. All these steps are required before the country can submit its official Candidate Country application to the FiTI International Board.
The FiTI International Board welcomed the inclusion of the FiTI in the first National Action Plan (NAP) of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) for Senegal as a sign of renewed commitment to transparency in fisheries management, under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice and following citizen consultations. Implementing the FiTI is one of twelve national commitments under this OGP NAP. According to its timetable, Senegal’s application for membership to the FiTI International Board should now be completed no later than August 2023. However, only limited progress has been demonstrated regarding the country’s FiTI commitment under this OGP NAP since its publication on 31st August, 2021.
Dr Valeria Merino, Chair of the FiTI International Board, stated that “Fisheries plays a leading role for Senegal’s national economy, providing foreign currency, creating jobs – especially in the small-scale sector (including many women in the post-harvest sector) – and supplying animal protein. Therefore, it is in the best interest of Senegal to honour its commitment to increasing transparency in its fisheries management, so that every stakeholder has a clear understanding of its current and future sustainability. The FiTI urges the Senegalese authorities to expeditiously complete the remaining sign-up steps and submit the country’s FiTI candidacy within the timeframe agreed under its OGP National Action Plan.”
The FiTI International Board agreed to monitor the developments of Senegal in adhering to the FiTI Standard over the following months.