In a significant step towards supporting global efforts to ensure the sustainability of our oceans and combat overfishing, Spain has announced a generous contribution of EUR 2 million (approximately CHF 1.9 million) to the WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism. The donation aims to assist developing and least-developed country members in implementing the historic Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.
The contribution was formally presented by Spain's Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Méndez, to the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on November 13. Director-General Okonjo-Iweala expressed her gratitude, emphasizing the pivotal role Spain's support plays in achieving the swift entry into force of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and its positive impact on ocean health. She stated, "This generous contribution will bolster worldwide efforts to implement the Agreement, improve fisheries management, and prevent the widespread depletion of marine fish stocks."
Spain, as a major fishing nation and the largest within the European Union, places great importance on the sustainability of its fisheries industry. Secretary of State Méndez highlighted Spain's commitment to combatting illegal fishing and restoring overfished stocks. She also underlined Spain's role as a prominent consumer and importer of seafood, emphasizing the need for responsible sourcing. Furthermore, Spain's current presidency of the European Council has reinforced its determination to support the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement and the Fisheries Funding Mechanism.
The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies represents a critical milestone in global efforts to address overfishing and its detrimental consequences. To facilitate its successful implementation, Article 7 of the Agreement established a voluntary funding mechanism. This mechanism aims to provide targeted technical assistance and capacity building to aid developing and least-developed countries in adapting to the required legislative, administrative, and policy changes.
The fund operates in partnership with renowned organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Bank Group. These partnerships allow the WTO to harness a wealth of expertise and resources to support member countries effectively.
The Fisheries Funding Mechanism officially commenced operations on November 8, 2022, marking a crucial step in facilitating sustainable fisheries management globally.
Spain's substantial contribution of EUR 2 million to this fund underscores its unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability, responsible fishing practices, and global cooperation in protecting our oceans. With this latest donation, Spain's cumulative contribution to various WTO trust funds since 2001 now stands at CHF 6,759,318, further solidifying its dedication to promoting positive change on the international stage.