Nigeria has signed an agreement with the World Trade Organisation, WTO, on Fisheries Subsidies.
The agreement was signed at the recently held 12th Ministerial Conference, MC12, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The ratification of the agreement comes after about twenty-one years of stalled negotiation on WTO Fisheries Subsidies as a result of not finding a common ground by member countries.
The adoption of the agreement by member nations at the MC12 marks a major milestone as enshrined Under Article 5, which states that “WTO members agree not to provide subsidies to fishing and fishing-related activities on the high seas that are outside the competence of a regional fisheries management organization”.
Director General, World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the agreement is a historic achievement for the membership being the first Sustainable Development Goal, SDG, target to be fully met through a multilateral agreement.
Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke in Abuja at press conference on her working visit to Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Industrial, Trade and Investment, said the agreement will put a stop to harmful fisheries subsidies, which are key factors in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks.
The WTO boss added that Nigeria must be one of the first countries to adopt the Agreement as two-third of members have to deposit their “instruments of acceptance” for it to be operational.
According to her, the agreement represents a historic achievement for the membership as the first Sustainable Development Goal, SDG, target to be fully met through a multilateral agreement.
“The Agreement represents a historic achievement for the membership as the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to be fully met, the first SDG target met through a multilateral agreement, the first WTO agreement to focus on the environment, the first broad, binding, multilateral agreement on ocean sustainability, and only the second agreement reached at the WTO since its inception” she said.
She also highlighted some deals that were abandoned for years but finally brokered during the MC12, adding that further negotiations with stakeholders to deepen the agreement will be made the since about 260 million people globally depend on fish and about 12 million in Africa.
Also speaking, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industrial, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, said President, Muhammadu Buhari has already directed for the process of preparing a council note for the Federal Executive Council to do the needful to consolidate the landmark achievement of the Geneva Conference.