Special Workshop: Using Transdisciplinarity for Fisheries Policies and SSF Guidelines Implementation

The official report from the workshop is now available!

Report summary

The transdisciplinary (TD) approach argues that the problems and priorities in fisheries and ocean governance, especially when concerning small-scale fisheries (SSF), require a broadening of perspectives that cut across academic disciplines, bridge division between scientific and local knowledge, and bring about innovation in teaching and learning. The TD perspective is particularly important when dealing with the ‘wicked problems’ in SSF governance, due mostly to insecure tenure rights, lack of livelihood options, poor access to markets, and marginalization of small-scale fishers in decision-making. This approach is also required to facilitate the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Last year TBTI organized a virtual workshop titled 'Using Transdisciplinarity for Fisheries Policies and SSF Guidelines Implementation' workshop took place during November 30 - December 4 2020. While the workshop  was supported by FAO as part of the FAO-TBTI joint agreement on 'Transdisciplinary capacity building to support the implementation of the SSF Guidelines', and targeted governments and policy makers, it was not an official international meeting organized by the UN. Participants were those responding voluntarily to the open call for participation and were invited on an individual basis, not to represent countries or government institutions.

This special workshop was run in conjunction with the on-going TBTI Transdisciplinarity (TD) Online Training Program. Unlike the regular, 14-week long training program designed for anyone who wants to ‘deep-dive’ into the concept of TD, the special workshop was a blended course, with live sessions and a condensed version of the online course, targeting governments, policy and decision-makers to support the implementation of the SSF Guidelines.

The TD workshop was global in scope and had four main objectives:

1) critically examine issues and concerns related to SSF;
2) exchange lessons in SSF management and governance;
3) share knowledge and experience in the implementation of the SSF Guidelines; and
4) develop innovative pathways towards making SSF vibrant and sustainable.

The live portion of the workshop was organized as three 90-minute sessions that took place on Monday - Nov 30th, Wednesday - Dec 2nd, and Friday - Dec 4th. Each of the three sessions consisted of presentations and several rounds of discussion period. Session 1 covered big questions & wicked problems in small-scale fisheries while Session 2 focused on ways to unlock legal & policy frameworks in SSF. The last session focused on the implementation of the SSF Guidelines & the SDGs, paying particular attention to gender equity and social justice.

The workshop participants had access to the TD Online Learning Platform, which contained relevant TBTI training materials discussed in the live sessions, in the form of video presentations, discussion forums and exercises. The platform was also used for sharing of information and exchanging ideas among participants. Additionally, the participants were given an opportunity to provide feedback about the TD Handbook, which is currently being developed by TBTI in partnership with FAO.

This report provides the highlights and feedback from the special workshop, which brought together about 60 people, including government officials, policy/decision makers, researches, practitioners and others involved in or responsible for SSF management and governance, from more than 20 countries around the world.