The government will promote sustainable investments in the blue resources and unlock the potential of the oceans frontier to contribute to economic growth.
Environment Cabinet Secretary (CS) Keriako Tobiko says the government will continue to promote the ‘Blue Economy’ for sustainable management of oceans and marine resources.
He said oceans not only provide great value in maintaining life sustaining climatic conditions but also provide enormous value in the form of the blue economy that can be tapped to accelerate economic growth and fight poverty.
The Blue Economy concept encompasses fisheries, maritime biotechnology, aquaculture, tourism and marine transport and logistics.
Tobiko noted that the huge potential of the oceans and the ‘blue resources’ for human wellbeing and for boosting economic growth, tackling unemployment and addressing food security has gained traction worldwide.
The CS was speaking in Mombasa on Thursday during the opening of the ninth conference of parties to the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of Coastal and Marine Environment of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region at English Point Marina.
Tobiko also raised the alarm over marine plastic pollution saying it is a threat to the blue economy.
He underscored the government’s continued commitment to the growth of the blue economy and called for concerted efforts in protecting the environment.
Kenya, Somalia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Comoros, South Africa and Mauritius were represented at the forum.
The Environment CS said the expanding prospects of blue economy require robust cooperation among countries in the region.
The theme of the two-day conference is ‘sustainable ocean economy for wealth creation.’
“We attach great value to the oceans and the blue resources as it contributes significantly to the economy,” he said.
He added ‘the economic sectors of coastal tourism, marine transport, shipping, offshore gas and oil exploration and fisheries play vital role in Kenya’s economic growth’.
He said over the past few years, as part of opening up the blue resources, the government has made huge investments in coastal infrastructural development.
This, he said, include the Dongo Kundu bypass highway linking the Nairobi-Mombasa road to the south coast, the Makupa causeway expansion to decongest Mombasa town.
The expansion of the Mombasa Port container terminal and the LAPSSET (Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport) corridor project which is considered the most ambitious infrastructural development in Africa are other projects.
He disclosed that Kenya and Canada will co-host a high level global Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nairobi, from November 26 –28, this year.
The goal of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference is “to promote sustainable investments in oceans, seas, lakes and rivers with a view to unlocking the untapped potential for accelerated and inclusive economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation.”
The Conference will attract up to 6, 000 participants from around the world to share experiences and move forward the sustainable management and conservation of the blue resources.
Somalia’s state minister in the office of the Prime Minister Abdullahi Hamud said they will work with regional stakeholders in the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources to support economic growth.
He said Somalia is happy to be part of the Nairobi convention that was inaugurated in 1985 after many years of lack of representation due to longstanding civil strife.
He said his government is alive to the fact that the Indian Ocean presents an abundance of untapped opportunities for sustainable economic growth.