The Government of Australia has pledged AUD 2 million (approximately CHF 1.3 million) to the WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism to help developing and least-developed countries implement the landmark Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference in June.
The contribution was announced at a 22 November meeting in Canberra, Australia, between WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt and Assistant Minister for Trade, Senator the Hon Tim Ayres.
Article 7 of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies provides for the creation of the funding mechanism for targeted technical assistance and capacity building to help developing and least- developed country members implement the Agreement, as the new rules would involve adjustments to members' legislative and administrative frameworks, transparency and notification requirements, and the enhancement of their fisheries management policies and practices.
Director-General Okonjo-Iweala said: "This is great news and we are grateful for Australia's support of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement and the WTO. This will go a long way in helping implementation of the landmark agreement for the sake of the ocean and of the people whose livelihoods depend on it."
Minister Farrell said: "Australia is delighted to be the first to make a pledge to the new Fisheries Funding Mechanism. The Fund's establishment signals to the world the urgency of implementing the historic Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.
The early entry into force of the new Agreement will make a positive contribution to sustainability of global fish stocks. The Fund will assist developing countries in ensuring their precious fish stocks are in better shape in the future."
The Fund is operated by the WTO with partner organizations the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Bank Group, which bring to bear relevant expertise.