07 Mar 2024
12:00–13:00

Venue: Palais des Nations | Room XXV

Organization: FIAN International

The side event to the 55th session of the Human Rights Council intends to foster dialogue, raise awareness, and propose actionable strategies to address the challenges faced by Fisher Peoples, advocating for their rights, socio-ecological justice, and the preservation of traditional practices in the face of evolving global economic landscapes.

About this Event

Fisher peoples, an integral part of the historical tapestry of humanity’s relationship with land, oceans, and forests, play a vital role in sustaining the complex web of life. As custodians of ocean ecology, they collectively govern and assert their customary commons, preserving ancestral knowledge associated with the sustainable use and management of fisher commons. These communities are interconnected with land, fisheries, seeds, and forests, serving as the foundations of cultures and identities. Fisher peoples are not only essential for their own livelihoods but are crucial to the realization of the human rights of coastal and riparian communities and in particular the right to food and nutrition (hereafter the RtFN). The traditional practices of fisher peoples are deeply ingrained in the concept of food sovereignty, empowering communities to define their own food systems.

At the occasion of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council and the presentation of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food on his report on fisheries and the right to food in the context of climate change (A/HRC/55/49), this proposed side event aims to shed light on the multifaceted challenges faced by fisher peoples and their communities in today’s world. The transformation of small-scale, artisanal and subsistence fishing economies into export-oriented seafood industries, driven by globalized economies, has resulted in the degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems. Mechanization, corporate interests, and large-scale aquaculture projects have led to the dispossession of coastal lands, loss of marine biodiversity, and the marginalization of fisher peoples. The encroachment on Fisher Commons by state-driven exploration and extractive Blue Economy and Blue Growth Initiatives, coastal infrastructural and industrial development projects, conservation, and extractive industries has further alienated these communities. Despite international recognition of their human rights, fisher peoples experience unprecedented levels of marginalization, eviction, and dispossession, and their human rights are outright abused and violated in the face of states’ actions and inactions.

This side event aims to

  • Bring fisher peoples’ voices, ongoing human rights abuses and violations caused by the corporate-driven reshaping of food systems which impact fisher peoples’ waters and land, facilitated and supported by states and other actors (i.e. international financial institutions and UN organizations) in the context of the RtFN;
  • Exchange with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and other selected speakers on how to advance the realization of the human rights of fisher peoples.
  • Understand how existing policy and legal framework can further emphasize and recognize fisher peoples as custodians of their commons (land, water, and fish) in achieving socio-ecological justice.

The side event intends to foster dialogue, raise awareness, and propose actionable strategies to address the challenges faced by Fisher Peoples, advocating for their rights, socio-ecological justice, and the preservation of traditional practices in the face of evolving global economic landscapes.

Livestream: twitter.com/FIANista

Environment @ HRC55

The 55th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC55) is taking place in Geneva and online from 26 February to 5 April 2024. This regularly updated page highlights the environmental-related activities of this session.

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