WTO director intends to use the fisheries fund to help the Pacific Island countries strengthen fisheries management and data collection

World Trade Organisation director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says the fisheries fund and the recently signed agreement with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on technical assistance should help the region in the management of its fisheries.

Okonio-Iweala made the comments during her first visit to the Pacific since being appointed, where she also had the opportunity to attend a workshop on the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, which was concluded at the 12th Trade Ministers Conference in Geneva in June this year.

The Pacific was instrumental in pushing the conclusion of the agreement, which was being negotiated for over two decades. However, there are concerns on the lack of capacity in the region to implement some parts of the agreement.

“We have to make sure that any gaps in management capacity for fishery- in data collection or statistical analysis- we can help the Pacific Island foreign countries to take care of, we will try to do that.

“We pledge to try and support as much capacity building as we can.”

PIFS agreement with WTO on the provision of technical assistance has been ongoing for the last 22 years.

Okonio-Iweala said: “We have also opened the fisheries fund, so another capacity building for specifically for fisheries. We intend to use that to help the other countries including the Pacific Island countries to strengthen fisheries management, data collection.”

The director general also applauded the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Blue Economy strategy.

“If I may say so that has laid out the way they see this economy going forward. And I think what we can do at the WTO is make sure that the agreements that we push with respective fisheries, takes account, takes cognizance of the objectives that have been put in this strategy. 

“I think one very concrete thing that we can do is with respect to capacity building. And we’re trying to do that first to help implement the agreement we already have, which is the first phase of the fishery subsidies agreement. We have also been talking to financial international financial agencies, I’ve actually been talking to the president of the World Bank, and the World Bank team, the Asian Infrastructure Asian Development Bank is also there. And what we’re trying to do is see how we can work together with these other organisations to leverage resources in the event that you will need this kind of financing.”

There are no comments yet. Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.