Concept note: Governing the Governance

pesca237Small-scale fisheries (SSF) are important for their contribution to society and because of what they mean to the millions of people who actually live this fishery. How SSF perform in these respects is an overarching concern for WG6. The aim of WG6 research should be to develop some good and reasoned governance principles for SSF, as well as some ideas about their institutional operationalization, emphasising key issues such as social justice, property, social security, empowerment, gender equality, human rights and well-being. As we employ a SSF sector perspective, we should also employ a “people” perspective. We should, in other words, not only emphasize the realities and prospects of the SSF sector but also the opportunities for work and wellbeing for people within the SSF communities.

The challenge for WG6 is to undertake an approach that is analytically coherent and empirically comprehensive. In the first instance, the TBTI proposal embraces the interacive governance approach (IGA) and the governability assessment framework (GAF) as its theoretical foundation. In the latter, the challenge is to undertake a global empirical assessment of SSF in a way that makes comparison across case studies and countries possible. The assumption here is that despite the diversity, complexity and dynamics of SSF globally, general lessons for governance can be drawn. The IAG helps in facilitating an analysis that does not leave substantial gaps in understanding what SSF are, what they contribute to, and where their governability challenges exist. Notably, by following the GAF, contributors of the SSF governance case studies will be able not only to frame their particular research questions in the context of governability but also to see how they fit into the overall governance research agenda.

For more information on IAG and GAF and on how these frameworks may serve as a guide to the investigation of SSF under this theme, click on TBTI Working Group 6 Governing the Governance