Norway to fund EAF-Nansen Programme for five years

The research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen is at the centre of the EAF-Nansen Programme, a partnership between FAO and Norway, regional organisations and 32 countries in Africa and the Bay of Bengal.
The research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen is at the centre of the EAF-Nansen Programme, a partnership between FAO and Norway, regional organisations and 32 countries in Africa and the Bay of Bengal. Photo: ©FAO/Mariano Silva

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the government of Norway have announced a new five-year phase of the EAF-Nansen Programme at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The Programme is a partnership between FAO, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Norway, regional fisheries organizations and 32 partner countries in Africa and the Bay of Bengal, dating back to 1975.

Norway will fund the budget of 1 billion NOK (almost $94 million) for the new period.

From 2024 to 2028, the EAF-Nansen Programme will intensify efforts to improve food and nutrition security in partner countries, placing a stronger focus on strengthening fisheries management in response to the impacts of climate change.

“A large number of the global population live by and off the ocean. For people to continue to do so, we need to manage the marine environment and life sustainably. The Nansen Programme plays a key role by collecting and sharing ocean knowledge. This effort is crucial in fighting climate change and ensuring food security also for future generations,” said Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, the Norwegian Minister of International Development.

“This unique Programme generates essential data, research and science needed for countries to make informed decisions that support sustainable fisheries management. FAO welcomes the announcement for this new phrase to build a sustainable and resilient future for our oceans, working together to promote responsible fishing practices, combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and address the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General.

Improving fisheries management to address climate change

The Programme is committed to improving fisheries management in line with the FAO Blue Transformation vision, strengthening the capacities of fisheries institutions and generating scientific knowledge on marine resources and ecosystems. It will address important aspects of food and nutrition security, including threats to the sustainable use of the ocean, such as climate variability and change.

Climate change affects marine life, causing shifts in nutrient availability, water quality, and fisheries resources distribution. The impacts are felt throughout the food web, altering the structure and function of marine ecosystems.

The Programme supports its partner countries in generating scientific knowledge on marine resources and ecosystems by collecting unique data and information related to fisheries and other issues high on the global agenda, such as biodiversity, climate change and pollution.

Understanding the impacts of climate change on fisheries

One of the main ongoing research areas is dedicated to understanding the impacts of climate change on fisheries resources and the health of the ecosystems. The Programme has been collecting data over time on the distribution, abundance and biodiversity of living marine resources and environmental parameters throughout its lifetime through surveys with the research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen. This data can provide fisheries management with tools to mitigate the risks and maximize the opportunities associated with climate change and variability, thus improving food security.

“In the EAF-Nansen Programme, we do integrated studies on fisheries management and climate change. The new phase will allow us to continue and strengthen this important work. Fundamental knowledge of ecosystem-based fisheries management is relevant for all coastal and ocean areas – when the necessary local and regional adaption is done,” said Nils Gunnar Kvamstø, CEO of Norway’s Institute of Marine Research.

In addition, the Programme will provide partner countries with the means to detect change in fisheries systems and develop interventions to address fisheries sustainability, and foster capacity development to support the transformation of marine food systems.

Ultimately, all Programme activities will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of ongoing initiatives such as the UN Decade of Ocean Science, as well as Blue Transformation, FAO’s vision for aquatic food systems.

Since 1975, the Programme has collaborated with 58 countries across Africa, Asia and South America, assisting them in both fisheries research and management.

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EAF-Nansen Programme