Moenieba Isaac is the Academic Coordinator for the Institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), and manages Post Graduate Diplomas, MPhil, and PhD research at PLAAS. She is also the co-coordinator of accredited short-course training on the Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa in collaboration with the AU- African Land Policy Center targeting land professionals in Africa. Her research focus is on understanding the social and political processes of fisheries reform in South Africa, mainly through the lenses of small-scale fisheries policy processes and implementation.
She is the regional coordinator and founding member of a Global Partnership for the future of Small-Scale Fisheries called TooBigToIgnore and engages in participatory action research. Her research in South Africa and the region aims to enhance the understanding and real contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security, nutrition, sustaining livelihoods, poverty alleviation, wealth generation, and trade, as well as the impacts and implications of global change processes such as urbanization, globalization, migration, and climate change on small-scale fisheries. She co-chaired the Human Dimension Working Group on Integrated Marine Bio-geo-chemistry Ecosystem Research (IMBER) 2010-2015. This group developed a decision-making tool – I-ADApT to assess global change.
She formed part of the UN Committee on Food Security’s High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) on the Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition. She was part of the expert team organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to unpack the notion of fisheries crime in February 2016 and is a director of the research group PescaDolus developing frameworks for fisheries crime internationally. In 2016, she worked with a team to review the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure in Land, Fisheries, Forestry, and Indigenous Communities for the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM). In 2017, she received the UWC Institutional Individual Engagement Excellence Award for her research, policy, and community engagement work.