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NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (R, front) looks at a miniature submarine during the blue economy conference in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Nov. 27, 2018. The inaugural blue economy conference kicked off in Nairobi on Monday, calling for prioritizing sustainable management of water resources to boost food security, climate mitigation, industrial growth and employment creation. More than 1,700 delegates from 183 countries, including heads of state and government, ministers, industry executives, representatives of multilateral agencies, scientists and green campaigners, are attending the first ever blue economy summit to be held in Africa. XINHUA PHOTO: CHARLES ONYANGO

Maritime security key to growth of blue economy in Africa: experts

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Securing Africa’s abundant marine resources from emerging threats like illegal fishing, piracy and dumping of toxic waste is key to hastening growth of the continent’s nascent blue economy, experts said on Wednesday in Nairobi.

The security experts, who spoke at a side event on maritime safety during an international meeting on blue economy, said that African countries that are endowed with vast coastlines should intensify vigilance against man-made and environmental threats.

Raychelle Omamo, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for defense, said there is a consensus among African nations on the need to strengthen their maritime security as they embark on revitalizing the key blue economy pillars that include fisheries, tourism and shipping.

“We are convinced that securing our oceans and other marine resources is critical to the growth of blue economy. Safety in our sea lines will facilitate cross-border trade and mineral exploration,” Omamo said.

She urged harmonization of policies, capacity-building, knowledge and information sharing to boost safety of oceans and mangrove forests that are key to food security, climate resilience and job creation in Africa.

“Coordination of our coast guards is critical to secure our marine resources and pave way for the blue economy to take off,” Omamo said, adding that Kenya’s recently launched coast guard marked a milestone in the country’s quest to become a blue-economy hub.

Michelle Stallone, a maritime security expert, said that a motivated coast guard is key to combating illegal fishing and plunder of mangrove forests that are a threat to growth of blue economy in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Safety in the oceans will enable governments and local communities carry out fishing and seabed mining that will support the next phase of industrialization in Africa,” Stallone said.

Daya Bragante, a blue economy specialist at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said robust collaboration among governments, industries and local communities is key to strengthening protection of Africa’s marine ecosystem amid threats linked to population pressure, over-exploitation and climate change.



Blue economy summit concludes with pact
to promote utilization of marine resources

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The world’s first ever blue economy summit ended in Nairobi on Wednesday with more than 10,000 participants from 170 countries signing a pact to help advance sustainable exploitation of oceans and other marine resources to achieve sustainable development.

Kenya hosted the three-day blue economy conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that was attended by more than 10 Heads of State and Government drawn mainly from Africa as well as ministers, industry executive and scientists.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his closing remarks said it covered a new milestone in global quest to revitalize growth of blue economy in order to secure a green, peaceful and prosperous future.

“The conference will be remembered for highlighting the great potential of our marine resources and moving forward, we have all committed to harness the potential of our lakes, rivers and oceans to grow our economies and expand job opportunities,” Kenyatta said.

He said that the blue economy conference revitalized political goodwill that is required to anchor sustainable use of oceans and inland water resources to boost food security, cross-border trade and climate resilience.

“We are committed to strengthen political leadership, promote sharing of knowledge and information on threats to marine life,” said Kenyatta adding that scientific research is key to boost management of marine resources.

The pact urges governments and industries to act on ocean pollution, promote smart shipping and sustainable fisheries in order to create vibrant blue economies.

Jonathan Wilkinson, Canadian minister of Fisheries and Oceans said the Nairobi blue economy summit rekindled conversation on viable utilization of the marine ecosystem to advance green and inclusive growth.

Several countries and multilateral lenders pledged financial and technical assistance at the end of the blue economy summit to promote marine protection, plastics and waste management, maritime safety and climate change adaptation to ensure that water based economic activities are an integral part of the sustainability agenda.


China keen to promote win-win cooperation in blue economy: official

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- China will leverage on its successes in developing a vibrant blue economy to promote global cooperation in areas that advances the green agenda, food security, peace and stability, an official said late Tuesday during a side event at the blue economy summit underway in Nairobi.

He Guangshun, director general of National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS) in the Ministry of Natural Resources, said Beijing has prioritized fruitful cooperation in the blue economy in line with the Belt and Road Initiative.

“China advocates building blue partnership. The Chinese government has put forward the initiative of ‘building blue partnership’ and has carried out a series of work to promote the building of blue partnership,” He remarked during the side event titled marine economy and the path of blue growth in China.

The Chinese embassy in Kenya and the UN Environment jointly hosted the side event with NMDIS to shed light on the Asian country’s success in harnessing marine resources to hasten industrial growth, attain food security and mitigate climate change.

He said that China’s blue economy, whose pillars are fisheries and shipping, has been transformed tremendously thus offering crucial lessons to the rest of the world.

The official singled out vibrant aquaculture and emerging marine based industries as an example of China’s determination to embed blue economy in its vision for national rejuvenation.

Moving forward, He said that China will strengthen cooperation with bilateral partners to help them harness their marine resources and attain sustainable development.

“China practically develops international cooperation in marine economic fields. The Chinese government encourages Chinese regions and coastal port cities to give play to their local characteristics, deepen practical cooperation with the countries along the Marine Silk Road and facilitate implementation of relevant projects,” said He.

The official said that China has partnered with several African countries to set up infrastructure required to facilitate growth of their blue economies.

Li Xuhang, charge d’affaires at the Chinese embassy in Kenya, said that Beijing is committed to cooperate with its bilateral partners to revitalize growth of their blue economies and attain sustainable development.

“China will cooperate with all partners and work together to build a different future and therefore a different better model for the blue economy,” said Li.

Lisa Emelia Svensson, coordinator of marine and coastal ecosystems branch at UN Environment, hailed China’s ecological civilization model that has placed blue economy at the center, saying it has injected vitality into the global green and sustainability agenda.


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