Madagascar becomes third FiTI Candidate Country!

Madagascar becomes third FiTI Candidate Country!

Madagascar has been accepted into the FiTI as an official Candidate Country, making it the third country globally to be granted this status after Mauritania in 2018 and Seychelles in 2020. The FiTI International Board debated and approved Madagascar’s candidate application on 5 December 2022 during its 19th Board meeting.

The application was submitted to the Board on 18 November 2022 by Ms Narindra Raharison, Director of Legal Affairs and Litigation within the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy (MoFBE), on behalf of the FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) of Madagascar. Ms Raharison serves as Chair of the National MSG and the country’s FiTI National Lead.

“On behalf of the FiTI International Board, I wish to extend my congratulations to the government and all other stakeholders in Madagascar who have worked tirelessly over the last 14 months towards this significant achievement. We welcome Madagascar into our global multi-stakeholder partnership and look forward to greater transparency in the management of the country’s fisheries sector strengthening participatory governance, contributing to reforms, and ultimately promoting the sustainable exploitation of  marine fisheries,” said Dr Valeria Merino, Chair of the FiTI International Board.

Marine fisheries play a vital role in the economy, society, and culture of Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world with an Exclusive Economic Zone measuring 1,140,000 km2. However, according to the World Bank, “this sector faces numerous and complex challenges”, one of the most fundamental being “finding ways to balance conservation and exploitation of fisheries resources.”

Increasing public access to credible government information on Madagascar’s fisheries can serve as a cornerstone for the responsible management of the sector, facilitating improved decision-making, accountability, and informed public debates.

Under the aegis of the newly-formed MoFBE, the Madagascan government committed to implement the FiTI in September 2021, noting that the decision represents “a major step towards the preservation, management, and development of sustainable fisheries for future generations.” The commitment formed part of a wider effort to improve governance of the sector, which also saw the signing of conventions between the MoFBE and both the national anti-corruption office and financial intelligence unit.

The last year has seen the government judiciously fulfil all six of the sign-up steps required to join the initiative as a FiTI Candidate Country, most notably the establishment of Madagascar’s FiTI National MSG.

This group, made up of equal numbers of representatives from the government, business (both small-scale and large-scale) and civil society sectors, is responsible for steering the FiTI implementation process in Madagascar. Its members have already developed the group’s initial workplan for 2022-2023.

With the multi-stakeholder foundation for FiTI implementation now in place in Madagascar, the FiTI Standard stipulates that the country has until the end of 2023 to produce its first FiTI Report.

The report, produced under the collective responsibility of the country’s FiTI National MSG, will assess the accessibility and completeness of fisheries information published by the government. This covers a range of areas of fisheries management, such as laws and policy documents, foreign fishing access agreements, stock information, and payment and catch data from large and small-scale fishing vessels. Key information will be summarised to support public understanding and the report will include joint recommendations issued by the FiTI National MSG to help the government continue improving transparency levels over time.

The Government of Madagascar and the country’s FiTI National MSG were supported by the FiTI International Secretariat and our local partner Blue Ventures during this initial sign-up phase.

Information regarding the official acceptance letter of Madagascar as a FiTI Candidate Country, as well as the country’s candidate application package, can be found here.

Congratulations Madagsacar!