Fostering collaboration: the Annual Partners’ Forum returns

29 November – 3 December 2021

Following two years of disruption due to COVID-19, in late 2021 we were delighted to be able to hold our first in-person Annual Partners’ Forum since the pandemic began. This week-long event in Bali brought together 40 leaders from 17 organisations, who are collectively supporting local marine conservation and fisheries management efforts across 49 villages, from as far afield as Aceh and Maluku.

Representatives from government, academia and the fishing industry also took part in the event, sharing their experiences of the different management models now being adopted by dozens of coastal communities across the country.

“The Partners’ Forum is the place where partners share ideas, best practices and lessons learned from the field in fisheries management, such as how to engage and involve communities in data collection, and how to combine data and local knowledge to implement fisheries closures,” said Indah Rufiati, YPL Fisheries Lead.

The first partners’ forum took place in 2018 with just three partner organisations. Our 2021 forum, now with 17 organisations, focused on building a consortium to strengthen national support for locally led fisheries management and marine conservation.

The meeting started with an overview of our work in Indonesia and our partnership with UK-based marine conservation organisation Blue Ventures, which has been supporting some of our local partners since 2016.

Each partner had the opportunity to introduce their work, and then participants took part in lively discussions focused on four priority themes: fisheries management, advocacy for improved management of small-scale fisheries, participatory data for adaptive management, and community organisation. These sessions produced fascinating insights that will shape our strategy to strengthen this amazing network of community conservation leaders across Indonesia.

“These inspiring local organisations are getting more active in marine and fisheries management and conservation. We are now a group of 17 partners looking to expand community-based participatory approaches to other communities and support our government partners to scale up community-based fisheries management on a national level.

The partnerships are growing fast, with this dynamic network growing each year it feels more powerful and we can think about supporting communities to make change at scale”. Indah Rufiati, YPL Fisheries Lead.

The 2021 forum also marked a shift towards partner organisations taking a lead in planning sessions, and increasing collaboration and coordination, including organising future forums.

“Partners discussed what they want to do in the next five years and mapped out the resources they have to achieve the goals,” said Rufiati.

Moving forward, each priority theme is being coordinated by a local partner – LINI, YAPEKA and BAILEO – to ensure the network’s continued engagement on these important issues. We’re excited to see this forum continue to evolve and to strengthen the role of local organisations in supporting community-led fisheries management across Indonesia.