Although TransparentSea is in its early stage of development, in 2011 there are several activities underway or planned. These are as follows:
1. Contributing to the reform of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy
Working closely with the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements, TransparentSea has undertaken analysis of the external dimension of the CFP and in February 2011 organised a conference at the EU Parliament on the issue of transparency. The subsequent meeting report provides a summary of the proceedings, as well as a list of the participants. Following up on this work, TransparentSea has initiated a petition to the European Commission to disclose evaluations of its Fisheries Partnership Agreements held with developing countries. A paper written on the benefits and limitations of transparency was prepared in advance of this meeting, and a shortened version, containing information on the seminar, will be submitted for publication in March 2011.
2. An international survey on access to information
One of the main activities of this initiative is the design and implementation of an access to information survey in fisheries; the ‘TransparentSea Survey’. This survey is intended to test levels of transparency and accountability in specific countries in Africa and the Pacific on the management of commercial fisheries. It is directly inspired by the Access to Information Monitoring Tool, developed by the Open Society Justice Initiative, as well as the Open Budget Survey undertaken by the International Budget Partnership.
The TransparentSea survey asks citizens to review what type of information on commercial fisheries is available via open access websites in their countries, and it involves sending requests for specific information to fishing authorities, including information on access agreements, private fishing licenses, information on illegal fishing and budget documents. The survey not only tells us what information is available in different countries, but it documents how requests for information are responded to, if at all. The results of the survey will be used to help inform our advocacy work and policy recommendations aimed at governments, intergovernmental organisations and donors. Depending on funding, the survey will be implemented in at least 15 countries in Africa and the Pacific in mid 2011. Further information on the survey will be posted on this site, and a survey design document is available on request – email Andre: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Civil society workshop and transparency ‘toolkit’
To build capacity at a local level, a training workshop for civil society organisations and investigative journalists is planned for August/September 2011. This event will provide in-depth training on how to access information on fisheries, what laws and regulations provide citizens with the right to access information, how to read budget documents and how to develop dissemination strategies. The event will feed into the production of a CSO guide on fisheries transparency, which represents a toolkit for those wanting to engage in transparency work and advocacy campaigns.
4. Development of a multi-stakeholder transparency initiative, inspired by EITI
One of the outcomes of the meeting held in Brussels in February 2011 was interest in developing a multi-stakeholder transparency initiative for fisheries. This was partly inspired by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Working with others, such as the World Bank, government’s in developing countries, the European fishing industry and key donors, we hope to have a strong concept document for this initiative in place during 2011. This will allow us to assess the feasibility of taking the idea forward. Developments on this project, including key documents, will be posted on this website in due course.