Windhoek, Namibia, 19 November 2019 (ECA, MFMR) – Experts have urged member States to mainstream climate change and environmental sustainability into blue economy sub-regional and national policies, strategies and plans.
In an outcome statement at the end of a two-day high-level policy dialogue on ‘the Blue Economy, Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability’ in Windhoek, Namibia, the experts recommended that member States should establish national mechanisms to leverage synergies among academia, key stakeholders and private sector, in developing a vision for the blue economy and formulating financing strategies and structures.
The experts further implored member States to promote integrated coastal and ocean management across relevant blue economy sectors such as the climate change-maritime security nexus to advance blue economy governance and management; involve the community and people for a holistic, coordinated and integrated approach to coastal management and climate change; leverage existing financing mechanisms within the international climate finance architecture to support adaptation and reduction of adverse climate change effects; and that development partners should ensure a coordinated and harmonised approach in supporting blue economy, climate change and environmental sustainability initiatives among others.
Additionally, as a way forward, the delegates advised member States to periodically share experiences on blue economy initiatives and policies and ensure that national policies are in sync with regional aspirations on the sector.
In his closing remarks, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Director for Southern Africa (SRO SA), Said Adejumobi observed that climate change is the greatest threat to human survival and existence. “If the blue economy is to serve as a viable mechanism for powering our industrialization process, the threats to the realization of such goal need to be urgently addressed”, he added.
Adejumobi further observed that exploiting and developing the full potential of Africa’s vast coastal and marine resources can drive structural transformation on the continent and help address socio-economic development challenges.
He noted Namibia’s good practice in involving young people in the discourse on the blue economy id quite good, and encouraged other countries in the region to emulate the practice.
On his part, Chief Fisheries Biologist, Mr Paulus Kainge who spoke on behalf of the government of Namibia, thanked stakeholders for availing themselves to share their knowledge, expertise and skills. “We would also like to thank ECA, the organisers of the dialogue for choosing to partner and work with us. The knowledge we have gained here will further assist us to enrich and in finalising Namibia’s blue economy policy,” he added.
The two-day policy dialogue offered a great opportunity for stakeholders to share ideas and opportunities, raise awareness on climate change and environmental stewardship, create innovative new partnerships and work together towards effectively addressing climate-related changes in order to realize the full potentials of the blue economy.
Experts from the following countries participated in the policy dialogue: Comoros, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Seychelles, South Africa, and Zambia. Also present were representatives from the Indian Ocean Commission, the University of Namibia, research institutions, the private sector, professional organizations and representatives from other UN agencies, namely, UNDP and United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
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