COP22: Blue Growth Depends on Climate Resilient Oceans (Side-event)
Marrakech, 14/11/2016 (MAP) – Participants at a high level side event, on Sunday at the Moroccan COP22 pavilion, discussed several challenges related to the blue growth concept and reviewed several initiatives aiming at promoting the resilience of oceans to climate change effects.
During the event, held by Morocco’s Agriculture Minister under the theme: Africa in Action for Fisheries and Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change, the participants highlighted the importance of oceans and the fisheries sector in particular in the economic and social development of several African states and stressed the need for averting disastrous climate change effects on oceans which are manifested in rising acidification, declining biodiversity and exacerbated by unsustainable fishing practices.
Speaking on this occasion, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, pointed to the potential of blue growth in Africa where fisheries and aquaculture employ around 12 million people, noting that “a successful blue economy depends on maintaining healthy oceans.”
He said the EU has earmarked 140 million Euros in support of the maritime sector in several African countries, adding that special attention should be given to fighting illegal fishing in favour of sustainable fishing that can help the continent “lift people out of poverty and improve food security.”
For his part, Abdelmalek Faraj, Director General of the National Fisheries Institute (INRH), presented a briefing on the goals of the Morocco-led Blue Belt Initiative which aims at increasing coastal communities’ resilience and promoting sustainable fishing activities.
The Blue Belt Initiative is meant to support other initiatives launched across Africa to bolster the fisheries sector as a driver for growth, while enhancing resilience to climate change through collective effort, Faraj explained.
In the same vein, Manuel Barange, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) announced that the FAO together with the World Bank (WB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) launched a package for climate resilience in Africa worth 3.5 billion dollars for a period spanning from 2017 to 2020. Under the new package funding will be allocated, inter alia, to fisheries, safety at sea and early warning system, he explained.
Echoing him, Julia Bucknall, Director for Environment and Natural Resources at the World Bank, said that some of the goals of the package are to integrating action across all the different aspects of the marine economy.
Later on, a panel on fisheries, oceans and climate change was held with the participation of several African Ministers including Senegal’s Fisheries and Maritime Economy Minister, Oumar Gueye, Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia’s Environment Minister, Jose da Silva Cabo Verde’s Economy and Employment Minister, Premdut Koonjoo Mauritian Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mautaz Mosa Sudan’s Minister of Water Resource and Electricity, Osman Saleh Eritria’s Foreign Minister, in addition to Jonathan Taylor the Vice President of the European Investment Bank.