Research and action across scales: protecting the human rights, livelihoods, and culture of small-scale fishers
impact story – overview
A cross-scalar approach is integral to our vision for the One Ocean Hub. We intend to produce research and influence action responsive to and meaningful for local communities, particularly those of small-scale fishers (SSFs). This requires action across multiple scales of governance and power.
To help achieve this, we have put in place ways of working that intentionally connect actors and processes at different scales. This includes:
- co-developing research from the outset with national partners in our focus countries as well as with UN and international NGO partners;
- proactively sharing early findings that can be useful in our partners’ own planning and agenda-setting activities;
- systematically sharing our research through capacity-building activities with representatives of our focus countries’ governments to international forums and national decision-making structures;
- strategically utilising the strength of Hub partnerships with international organisations to leverage further support from other international organisations; and
- encouraging dissemination of international-level decisions and actions to add authority to local advocacy efforts and influence systemic change at the national level.
We have also taken a deliberately broad approach to “capacity building.” This common concept in international development tends to frame only the most local and peripheral actors as needing support to functionally engage in governance processes. Because the Hub sees need for support at every level of ocean governance, we work to build the capacity of:
- international agencies to better understand how they can support Indigenous peoples and coastal communities negatively affected by blue economy initiatives (“ocean defenders”) and women and children negatively affected by unsustainable uses of the ocean;
- international partners to collaborate with one another and adapt modalities that accommodate community representatives’ needs;
- researchers to engage directly with international partners, as an essential skillset to develop meaningful cross-scale networks;
- community representatives to engage directly in international debates, while addressing their practical constraints and other, more pressing demands on their time; and
- local communities to participate in national policy-making processes, by organising workshops and providing support to participate in meetings.
Special Rapporteur reports are considered authoritative guidance and influence international monitoring of relevant State conduct.
PROFESSOR ELISA MORGERA, ONE OCEAN HUB DIRECTOR
I found myself thinking at many points that I need to redirect my entire area of focus and just work on oceans. It was inspiring.
DR DINA LUPIN, DIRECTOR OF THE GLOBAL NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Read more about our efforts aimed to shift ways of working in UN bodies and international organisations. We are acting as a bridge-builder between international institutions, encouraging approaches to international policy and law that are responsive to local contexts, and introducing international organisations to our research and arts-based methods.
Read more about our work to impact UN guidance. Our work has been taken up by the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, we are advising the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, and we have developed global capacity-building tools with the FAO and UNEP.
Read more about how the Hub is working to expand support for small-scale fishers as “ocean defenders.” On the local level, we are working to support SSF communities. Globally, we are raising awareness of the work of ocean defenders and the challenges they face. And we are expanding the UN’s work on environmental human rights defenders to include ocean as well as land defenders.