The Asia-Pacific region is rich in marine biodiversity and millions of people depend on fish to provide food and income. However, several factors, including overfishing and pollution, threaten the marine ecosystem, livelihoods, and food security in the region.
Combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing along with promoting sustainable fisheries practices and management is the focus of the Sustainable Fish Asia (SUFIA) Local Capacity Development Activity, a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
SUFIA project activities are centered around a collaborative capacity strengthening approach with two key regional organizations: Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF). Both organizations are instrumental in promoting the sustainability of small-scale fisheries and marine biodiversity in the Asia Pacific Region. They also work to address issues of climate change, food security, and fair labor initiatives within the fishing industry.
Assessing Needs and Building Stronger Organizational Capacity
The SUFIA project is guiding organizational capacity assessments and providing customized capacity development services for SEAFDEC and CTI-CFF. Using the Participatory Local Organizational Capacity Assessment (PLOCA) tool which helps organizations identify capacity gaps along 10 organizational elements – RTI will assist partners in creating Capacity Development Action Plans (C-DAPs) in which they are able to prioritize their own capacity development needs and identify appropriate capacity development resources. By the end of this process, both SEAFDEC and CTI-CFF will have improved performance, enhanced compliance systems, and greater operational sustainability.
The SUFIA project team will also work to identify and understand organizational incentives and relationships for optimal partner engagement through applied political economy analysis (PEA) tools. Applied PEA is a structured way to examine power dynamics and the political, social, and cultural forces that influence development outcomes within a local context, with the goal of sustainability. PEA is usually used to assess a community, a region, or a country – but our SUFIA team has adapted PEA tools to work within organizations.
Building Partnerships with the Private Sector
The private sector plays a crucial role in achieving long-term viability of development activities. In the Asia Pacific Region, large and small fishing industry actors should be engaged and invested in preventing IUU and conserving marine biodiversity. Guided by USAID’s Private Sector Engagement Strategic Approach – the SUFIA team will embark on a region-wide Private Sector Landscape Assessment. This will help inform activities to incentivize fishing industry actors to invest in sustainable fishing practices and comply with existing environmental and labor standards. SUFIA will also hold networking, advocacy, and “idea pitch” opportunities so that our partners can engage private sector actors to increase both compliance and investment in sustainable fisheries.
As the population of the Asia Pacific Region grows, so do the region’s nutritional and economic needs that can be generated from the ocean and inland fisheries. It is vital that government, business, and civil society work together to ensure a sustainable economic and environmental future for all the residents of the region.
The USAID Sustainable Fish Asia Local Capacity Development Activity is a task order under the Asia Support Services for Local Solutions Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity Contract.