WASHINGTON, May 16, 2023—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $64.8 million project to strengthen regional fisheries management in the South-West Indian Ocean (SWIO) Region and to improve the competitiveness of the fisheries sector in Maldives.
The Transforming Fisheries Sector Management in South-West Indian Ocean Region and Maldives Project (TransFORM) aims to improve fisheries management in the SWIO region as a whole and to strengthen regional collaboration by producing and sharing knowledge, data and research to support evidenced based decisionmaking; improving fisheries and fish stock assessments; providing targeted capacity development; and promoting effective collaboration with other fisheries management regional initiatives.
"Maldives' strong track record in sustainable fisheries management can serve as a model for other countries in the South-West Indian Ocean region," said Faris H. Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. "This project also promotes a larger role for small and medium enterprises in the fisheries and allied sectors such as mariculture and aquaculture and is part of the overall strategic engagement between the Government of Maldives and the World Bank to address the weak investment and business climate that constrains private sector development in the country.”
The project will build national capacities, skills, and regulations to improve the governance of the fisheries sector. The longer-term aim is for Maldives to serve as a regional enabler that provides knowledge and capacity-building support to the SWIO region, particularly the island nations. The project will also pursue green, resilient, inclusive enterprise development practices to expand and diversify the fisheries and allied sectors, including, for example, the gradual removal of barriers to a competitive business climate in Maldives and facilitating learning in the fisheries sector in SWIO countries.
"This project supports greater regional cohesion and cooperation and provides a platform for mutual learning and support,” said Sachiko Kondo, World Bank Task Team Leader. “Appropriate skilling of stakeholders, developing national capacities to address challenges such as biosecurity, decarbonization, and promoting environmentally sound production and value chains are all part of the fisheries sector management and governance agenda. The project will build such capacities for the benefit of Maldives and the wider south west Indian Ocean region,” added Tapas Paul, World Bank Lead Environmental Specialist and Co-Task Team Leader of the project.
The project will be implemented by the regional Indian Ocean Commission and Maldives’ Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture. The total financing is $64.8 million, which is comprised of a $12 million grant to the Indian Ocean Commission, as well as a $26.4 million grant and a $26.4 million credit to the Maldives from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries.
Maldives and 11 other countries border the waters of the South-West Indian Ocean (SWIO) – the island nations of Comoros, La Réunion (France), Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles; and six mainland countries: Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Yemen. Together these countries are members of the South-West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC), a regional fisheries body.