Sustainable supply chains to build back better – Project linked to Fisheries in Namibia

 Background

“Sustainable Supply Chains to Build Back Better” is a joint initiative of the International Labour Organization and European Commission (EC) that sets out to advance decent work in five selected global supply chains for a fair, resilient, and sustainable COVID-19 crisis recovery. Fishing supply chain in Namibia is one of them.

The fisheries industry in Namibia comprises industrialized marine capture fisheries, recreational fisheries, inland capture fisheries, mariculture and freshwater aquaculture. The industry exports over 90 per cent of its total unprocessed and manufactured fish products.

The industry is one of the largest contributors to the country’s gross domestic product (3.8 per cent in 2012). It constitutes about 15 per cent of all exports, and is the second largest source of foreign currency earnings in the country (€568 million).

The fisheries industry in Namibia faces several decent work challenges. These include occupational safety and health, a lack of skills development, especially for vessel skippers and engineers, and a lack of harmonization of national qualifications with international standards, which contribute to low wages.

There have been reports of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as well as child trafficking and forced labour, on some vessels using Namibian ports. The workforce is stratified by race and gender. Women play a crucial role throughout the fish value chain. However, they often work in the most poorly paid and less protected jobs.

Furthermore, they face major challenges because of gender-based discrimination, disproportionate involvement in unpaid work, and unequal access to education, healthcare, property, and financial and other services.

Objectives

  1. To promote decent work in the fisheries supply chain as key to the social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis – building back better;
  2. To engage stakeholders and promote social dialogue all along the supply chains to keep decent work at the forefront and explore possibilities for a “new normal” during and after COVID-19 recovery – stakeholder engagement;
  3. To support Namibia Government, employers, workers and other stakeholders' actions to make decent work a defining framework of the post-COVID era – stakeholders' actions.