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What should the composition of the partnership be?

The EFF Implementing Regulation states that “the partnership shall comprise, including at the decision making level representatives of the fisheries sector and of other relevant local socio-economic sectors” (Article 23). No precise numbers have been given as to the representation of different stakeholders on the partnerships precisely because the philosophy behind Axis 4 is that the composition of the partnership should be adapted to local circumstances. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, it depends on the specificities of the area. Its membership should however have access to adequate administrative and financial capacity to administer the assistance and ensure that the operations are completed successfully.  

Nevertheless, the following guiding principles can be deducted from the Regulation.

  • Firstly, the Regulation says that more than half of the operations shall be led by the private sector. This commitment should preferably be reflected in the composition of partnership. So while local municipalities and public sector bodies are central to the partnerships they should not be in a position to dominate. Private sector representatives (including representatives of the fisheries sector) and civil society organisations should be represented on equal footing with the public sector.  
  • Secondly, the representatives of the fisheries sector are an obligatory and, in many cases, leading component of the partnership. However, the essence of the partnership is to forge local alliances and mobilise support around common goals with decisions taken on the basis of a real negotiation between the partners. Therefore, a golden rule is that a single group of stakeholders should not have more than 50% of the votes. Where possible, the composition of the partnership should reflect the socio-economic make up of the fisheries area.