, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference that will see Kenya to tap into and sustainably harness her vast maritime resources has kicked off in Nairobi.
Opening the Conference on Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenya will be exploring new technologies and innovations as well as potential partnerships and investment opportunities that will propel Kenya’s Blue Economy to effectively contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He made pledges towards sustainable harnessing of maritime resources which he says is key for job creation, poverty eradication and economic growth that include adopting appropriate policies, strategies and mechanisms to harness the Blue Economy to re-energise national economies and create jobs.
President Kenyatta also pledged to confront, head-on, the challenge of waste management and plastic pollution that is compromising Kenyan’s health and ensure responsible and sustainable fishing to conserve the endangered species and high value fish stocks, on which millions of people depend for their livelihoods.
“On the basis of these imperatives, I pledge that in Kenya, I will lead from the front. First, as a government, we will take steps to build on and expand institutional governance mechanisms that are already in place to enhance coordinated management of the blue economy,” he said.
He said the country is taking measures to revive maritime transport, by building and expanding ports, and shipping facilities and partnering with global shipping lines to extend maritime reach.
Combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing will also be prioritised going forward.
“The Blue Economy binds us to a common destiny. Oceans are the heart of our planet, they contain 97 per cent of the earth’s water, supply nearly half the oxygen we breathe, absorb over a quarter of the carbon dioxide we produce and regulate the weather and temperature,” he noted.
President Kenyatta was accompanied by various Heads of State and Government that include Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, and Seychelles President Danny Faure.
Kenya has partnered with Canada and Japan to co-host the three day conference.
Some of the topics that will be discussed during the conference include Smart Shipping, Management & Sustaining of Marine Life, Conservation & Sustainable Economic Activities, Marine Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Sustainable Mineral Resources, and Global Connectivity among others.
At the end of the conference ‘The Nairobi Statement of Intent on Advancing Sustainable Blue Economy’ will be presented that will highlight the key messages from the meeting as well as commitments made by the shareholders in the different sectors of the Blue Economy.