Icon Story highlights

  • SwedBio has significantly expanded its marine portfolio to now work with 11 collaborative partner organisations.
  • Key objectives are to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty with an integrated gender equality focus and to strengthen governance of marine social-ecological systems.
  • In 2019, this work will expand even further with extended focus on marine aquaculture and gender equality.

Sweden has, as many other nations, increasingly recognized the challenges related to governance of the oceans. Life in the sea and livelihoods depending on the vitality of the world’s oceans, are concerns that are high up on the Swedish government’s priority list. In June 2017, Sweden and Fiji hosted the first implementation conference on SDG goal 14 that focused on life below water. The aim was to raise the profile of ocean-related issues and create greater awareness about problems and opportunities that exist in the ocean roam. As part of Sweden´s ambition, SwedBio is strengthening and expanding its work on marine social-ecological systems, thanks to additional funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) from 2018, to 2020.

Human pressures on marine ecosystems, such as population growth, environmental degradation and climate change, have increased to an extent where no part of the oceans are unaffected. The rapid deterioration of coastal zones is particularly alarming and effects one-third of the world’s population who live in coastal regions. The well-being, especially of small-scale fishers/collectors and fish workers, many of which live in poverty, is increasingly being jeopardized. Oceans do not constitute an infinite reservoir of resources. Multiple and complex interacting pressures from human activities are increasingly eroding the capacity of marine ecosystems to provide various life-supporting services.

“The oceans can be viewed as the last resort for expanding livelihoods and food production to feed a growing population. However, these areas are already very “busy” and this is especially true for many developing countries. This imply that any “blue development” needs to proceed with caution to not jeopardize the many ecosystem functions and provisioning services people depend upon today. Marine aquaculture is one option for providing livelihoods and also food, and its expansion is seen in many parts of the world. How the anticipated benefits from aquaculture development will be achieved and experienced by the multitude of stakeholders involved is important to consider and will ultimately depend on what type of aquaculture is being promoted (species and systems), its environmental effects and the benefit sharing mechanisms in place.“

Max Troell, Marine Senior Advisor, SwedBio

As a response, SwedBio has developed a marine portfolio integrated across its different thematic areas but with a particular emphasis on the theme: livelihoods, food and health. It highlights the crucial role marine biodiversity and ecosystems play in sustaining livelihoods, food provision and providing good nutritional health to people living in poverty. Focus is to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty with an integrated gender equality focus and strengthen governance of marine social-ecological systems. SwedBio has initiated a number of new collaborations to expand the marine portfolio, that now consist of 11 collaborative partner organisations. In 2019, the marine work will expand even further with a special emphasis on marine aquaculture and gender.

SwedBio collaborates with the following partners working in the following countries with the respective overall objectives:

Organization and project nameLocationOverall objectives
World Fish: Enhancing livelihoods while governing marine resources in Pacific Island countries Timor Leste and Solomon Islands The project will implement a participatory livelihoods enhancement approach with communities and partners in Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste to 1) contribute to building resilient livelihoods and social-ecological systems in a biodiverse region, and to 2) refine and develop policy and methodology for wide adoption and impact in poor and developing countries. Watch and read to learn more.
International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF): Implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines Global, based from India The overall objective is to promote sustainable, responsible, equitable and “gender-just”, small-scale fisheries, in the context of the SSF Guidelines and other relevant processes as Agenda 2030. The aim being to benefit, in particular, poverty eradication and food security of the vulnerable and marginalized groups in the Global South.
World Conservation Society – Myanmar: Accelerating Sustainable Coastal Livelihoods in Southeast Asia Myanmar and Indonesia Coastal livelihoods in Myanmar & Indonesia are more sustainable and resilient through the generation and application of new knowledge, tools, and skills.
Forest Peoples Programme (FPP): Promoting and supporting biological and cultural diversity in marine and coastal socio-ecological systems     Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Madagascar, the Pacific and Panama The project aims to generate data and information about the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal socio-ecological systems and resources. Data and information generated by the project would contribute to the second Local Biodiversity Outlook (LBO-2) and to a strengthened and enhanced community-based monitoring and information system (CBMIS) methodology. Linkages between biological and cultural diversity in marine and coastal socio-ecological systems would be better understood, recognised and mainstreamed in international processes.
Natural Justice: Local Legal Empowerment Initiatives for Coastal Communities Senegal and Kenya Coastal communities in Kenya and Senegal are empowered to invoke laws and regulations to mitigate and improve their resilience to impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems.  
SNEHA – Social Need Education and Human Awareness: Towards Coastal Justice: A people’s tribunal to transform coastal governance in South and South East Asia Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia and 9 large coastal states and the Andaman Island The overall objective is: “to enable the process of establishing an alternate ecosystem of policies, institutions, alternative jurisprudence at the regional level for the cause of coastal communities with a focus on small scale fishers and women, by generating knowledge from a pro-people’s perspective.” Thus, “countering the narrative of Blue Economy, and shaping an alternative discourse”.
AWFISHNET: Enhancing the Capacity of the African Network of Women Fish Processors and Traders for Securing Sustainable Livelihoods and Gender Equity in Fisheries Contract with EMEDO, Tanzania, the secretariat of AWFISHNET. Continental, Africa This project envisions to support a gender-fair society and a gender-responsive fishery in Africa that recognize, utilize and enhance women’s potentials and capabilities in the fisheries sector for sustainable and equitable development. It will also contribute to enhanced knowledge generation and dialogue between policy makers, civil society and scientists in order to develop fisheries and ocean policies that better account for the realities of marginalized coastal people living in poverty and to help bridge between policy formulation and implementation.
Blue Ventures: Inspiring Locally-Led Marine Management in Timor-Leste Timor Leste The project supports communities to establish locally-managed marine area (LMMA) and local fisheries regulations using Tara Bandu customary laws.
ICLEI- CBC: Urban Natural Assets for Africa (UNA) Coasts Mozambique To contribute to improving urban human well-being, strengthening local sustainability and improving climate resilience, through mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services into land-use planning and city decision-making processes pertaining to two coastal cities in Mozambique through better coordination and community-based activation.
Wan Smol Bag – Vanuatu: Using theatre to energise community-managed fisheries in Melanesia Vanuatu and Solomon Islands Support and improve the spread of knowledge and information on sustainable coastal fisheries management in Vanuatu, through a creative, interactive theatre platform that communicates the importance of fish for people and the role that coastal communities can and must play in managing resources.
National Research Fund, South Africa: SDG labs   Africa: Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya, Uganda To inspire scalable change and build local, regional, and global knowledge of sustainability solutions. To strengthen research capacity in Africa and the bonds to innovator communities, as well as connecting African researchers and change-makers better to global communities.

“Marine and coastal systems are exciting and crucial to work with. Already we see immense negative impacts by human activities on our oceans and it is disproportionally impacting the lives of people in poverty conditions. For example, sea level rise forcing whole communities to move, and in the future risking the existence of whole nations, marginalised small scale fishing communities losing their livelihoods due to decaying fish stocks many times beyond their control. There is a great need for more strongly enforced global legislation that protects and ensures sustainable and equitable use of our marine biodiversity. No one should be left behind. The SDG 14, the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as well as the Voluntary Guidelines of Securing Small-Scale Fisheries are examples of steps in the right direction.” – Hanna Wetterstrand, Marine Programme Officer, SwedBio

Learn more about these projects on our collaborative programme page