At a recent workshop, stakeholders from Ecuador's fisheries sector discussed a review of the export policy for green products of Ecuador, commissioned by UNCTAD, and a draft National Action Plan for the fisheries sector.
The second workshop on Ecuador's National Green Export Review -- focusing on the issue of sustainability -- was organized by UNCTAD and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Trade in Manta, Ecuador on 23 February.
Participants included representatives from the fisheries private sector, the Ministries of Environment, of Agriculture and of Foreign Trade, international non-governmental organizations, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF, and local fishermen's associations.
Participants discussed and validated the strategic guides and actions required to achieve the goals set in the National Green Exports Review of Ecuador.
The validated Action Plan for the development of sustainable fisheries in Ecuador identifies by who, by when and how different actions need to be performed in order to achieve two specific objectives between 2015 and 2019, namely:
Creation and strengthening of a dynamic basis of sustainable fisheries products
Improving conditions of access to international markets.
"This proposal is a public planning tool" -- said UNCTAD's consultant that developed the draft National Action Plan - "This helps the public and private sector to have a strategic vision and know where they want to go".
Participants discussed the pros and cons of the different actions and actors involved in them, reaching a consensus on the National Action Plan. The validated plan will be submitted for official approval by the Ministry of Foreign Trade, in order to start its implementation as soon as possible.
Among the action points discussed, participants made reference to the need to reform the national regulations for fisheries, multiuse traceability systems and the use of sustainability certifications as a requisite for market access and premium prices.
Juan Francisco Ballén, Vice-Minister of Policy and Services of Foreign Trade expressed the support of the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MCE) to the fisheries sector in this process towards enhanced sustainability and praised the National Action Plan discussed and validated at the workshop.
David Vivas, legal officer at UNCTAD, highlighted that the quest for sustainability is not only determined by market demand, but also by the need to preserve and strengthen fish stocks and marine resources whilst permitting their use within ecological limits.
Product sustainability is a key issue for access to international markets. Ecuador, supported by UNCTAD, is actively taking the initiative in establishing the required actions with their respective timelines for their implementation.
The objective is to promote and consolidate national exports of fisheries that are more sustainable and more competitive at the international level, and contribute to a transition to a more sustainable economic development path.