The world faces an enormous challenge of feeding 9.8 billion people by 2050. Providing affordable, safe, nutritious food for all is an increasing challenge due to the scale of demand and the increasing threat of climate change[i]. While aquatic foods offer viable and sustainable nutrition solutions, coastal communities and habitats that provide such foods face a major threat from climate change, aggravated by lack of access to technology and an enabling policy environment. Small-scale fisheries, which provide the majority of fish for human consumption in developing countries, suffer from limited or no access to land tenure rights and poor management at the national level, which limits their productivity and sustainability. With predominantly marginal livelihoods and little knowledge on how to adapt to climate change, the coastal communities in the global South face a dangerously precarious future.
Further, the assault on coastal ecosystems is contributing to increased greenhouse gas emissions, which is compromising the ability of various stakeholders to meet the climate adaptation and mitigation goals of countries.
In response to these challenges, Asia-Africa BlueTech Superhighway, led by WorldFish, is implementing a two-continent program to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of stakeholders working across aquatic food systems in Africa and Asia. The initiative aims to unlock the potential of sustainable aquatic food systems for people, planet, and shared prosperity by leveraging South-South collaboration to adapt and scale evidence-based models for delivering impact. The 7-year program will be delivered in two phases, starting with Phase 1 which over four years will be implemented in Bangladesh, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Vietnam, aiming to reach over 300,000 primary beneficiaries, at least 50% of them women and youth, and over 400,000 secondary beneficiaries.
The BlueTech Superhighway is framed around four synergistic work packages that assess, adapt, and scale evidence-based methods across different contexts in Africa and Asia.
- Bridging data gaps in small-scale aquatic food system
- Integrated seawater farming for Africa
- Tackling aquatic food loss and waste
- Incentive-based coastal fisheries management
The South-South collaboration on the above work packages is underpinned by a country-to-country knowledge exchange platform—a forum to convene stakeholders from across the target countries, share challenges and solutions, and to learn from each other in an interactive, participatory approach. The exchange amongst countries will provide stakeholders access to practical ‘how-to’ knowledge of implementing technologies, offering a unique space to connect with peers in other countries, co-create actionable knowledge products, and spawn new ideas and innovations in a country-led environment, which can transcend beyond the program scope for greater cross-cutting returns.
Asia-Africa BlueTech Superhighway is a program under UK’s Climate and Ocean Adaptation and Sustainable Transition (COAST) program of the Blue Planet Fund. The program will contribute directly to COAST’s priority outcomes and impact.
Asia-Africa BlueTech Superhighway’s theory of change targets impact along six Sustainable Development Goals and contributions to the targets set within the Paris Agreement and African Union’s priorities on food systems transformation.
[i] FAO. 2020. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Sustainability in action. Rome. https://doi.org/10.4060/ca9229en.