An IORA online event on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Fisheries in the Indian Ocean Rim was held on September 28th 2020 with the intervention of Mr. Andre Siregar, Director for Asia-Pacific and African Intra and Inter-Regional Cooperation, Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms. Nilanjana Biswas, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF). The session also included participation by Italy as a IORA dialogue partner, in particular through the involvement of CIHEAM Bari, an intergovernmental organisation operating in the Mediterranean area and beyond (Sub-Saharan Africa and other countries), and an active member of the Italy IORA Committee.

A three-year project on promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Indian Ocean Rim

In support of the IORA Action Plan for 2017- 21, the Australian Government has engaged with UN Women to implement a three-year project on promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Indian Ocean Rim with the collaboration of the IORA Secretariat.

In addition to producing new research, the project provides capacity-building activities and wishes to implement training, by initiating a series of webinars on the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), to foster enabling environments for women’s economic empowerment both in the public and the private sectors (in the workplace, marketplace and community).

Cooperation with UN-Women and relevant organisations

The first IORA WEPs webinar this year, held September 28th, provided an overview of WEPs, in view of establishing cooperation with UN-Women and relevant organisations, for information exchanges and promoting initiatives on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Fisheries in the Indian Ocean Rim. The key findings of the above-mentioned project’s new research resulted in a Baseline Report that has been shared among the participants.

The role of CIHEAM Bari and collaborations with IORA countries

Italy was represented, as a dialogue partner of IORA, by Dr Patrizia Pugliese of CIHEAM Bari, who joined the discussion, providing comments and insights. As the international development officer at CIHEAM, Dr Pugliese made a presentation of the significant role of CIHEAM in implementing a number of projects and initiatives focusing on sustainable development of coastal communities and on rural/coastal women’s empowerment.

Projects such as NEMO Kantara in Tunisia, GEMAISA in the Mediterranean, in Kenya, and a post-graduate course on sustainable development of coastal communities directed at officials who also joined from IORA member States (Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia).

The on-field activities undertaken by CIHEAM appeared in line with those reported by the speakers during the webinar, and Dr. Pugliese underlined the gender-responsive sectoral focus with a broader vision on local communities that CIHEAM is currently pursuing, looking to develop collaboration with IORA and its member States also in this field.

Sara Caspani