Munya: Blue Economy is humanity's last frontier for development
Posted by JUDITH DORA AKOLO on 09 December 2021 4:55 PM CAT
By Judith Akolo
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya says that Africa’s only hope in achieving food security lies in the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources.
The Cabinet Secretary noted that, while many African Union member states and developing economies aspire to unleash the Blue Economy potential for the benefit of their citizenry, “over-exploitation of ocean resources, inadequate financial resources, weak human and technical capacities inhibits their potential to fully exploit the resources.
The Cabinet Secretary made the remarks in a speech read for him by the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Lawrence Omuhaka at the launch of the Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy project being implemented by the African Union – InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Munya said that limited access to relevant technologies and innovations, insecurity, climate change as well as weak governance mechanisms among African Union member states is limiting their ability to achieve the full potential of the blue spaces in a sustainable manner.
The Cabinet Secretary said that appropriate use and conservation of marine, inland aquatic and coastal resources can contribute to food security, create jobs ensure inclusive economic growth and move the continent towards sustainable economic growth, as well as realize climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Munya said that the deterioration of marine ecosystems pose a threat to sustainable food security and livelihoods of societies that are heavily dependent on fishing adding that “in order to truly benefit from Blue Economy resources for generations, we must make deliberate efforts to sustain healthy Blue Economy ecosystems.”
The Cabinet Secretary warned that Africa continues to bear the biggest burden to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, mostly perpetrated by foreign fishing fleets leading to loses of billions of dollars annually. All the above-mentioned human led activities have led to disruption of ecosystems and endanger of aquatic biodiversity.
The Acting Director of the African Union – InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Dr. Nick Nwankpa lauded the support offered by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through funding of the “Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy’, project that runs from October 2021 to October 2024.
Dr. Nwankpa said the project is important for the continent as it aims to build capacity among member states, “as well as harmonising those capacities in order to maximise the benefits by member states in utilizing the aquatic resources sustainably,” he added.