Enabling Policy

Enabling policy establishes the conditions that make fisheries co-management legal, designs of "Managed Access" areas with no-take reservers implementable, and data-based management functional.

This building block requires relationships with government at multiple scales, including national, provincial, and district levels. It also requires relationships with community-based institutions whose input can set policy priorities and whose functionality demonstrates value to decision makers in government. Finally, enabling policy is dependent on a clearly defined policy strategy that identifies key goals, evidence-based solutions, the stakeholders who will be most impacted by policy changes, and those best positioned to advocate and enact change.

Policy change is slow, and Rare has learned that government processes often work on their own timeframes regardless of project plans. This is true for the development of policy documents, the passage of laws, and the approval of submitted plans and proposals. In all cases, Rare found that steady and regular engagement with government partners was key for sustaining momentum. Likewise, Rare learned the importance of working simultaneously at multiple geographic scales. Enabling national legislation is essential for effective management, but it is insufficient for meaningful implementation. For this, Provincial and District policies are necessary, including the allocation of local budgets, the procedures of implementing agencies, and the active support of local elected officials. Finally, we found that an adaptive approach to policy work is the most effective strategy. Government priorities can shift quickly when elections and appointments bring new decision makers into the conversation, and when circumstances require the government’s immediate attention.