Namibia’s blue economy is a major driver of the country’s economic development, Vice President Dr. Nangolo Mbumba told the High-Level Side-Event on Africa’s Blue Economy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 8, 2020.
Blue economy refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.
As a member of the High-Level Panel on the Blue Economy, Vice President Dr. Mbumba said Namibia attaches great importance to blue economy and environmental matters.
“Namibia is one of the few countries in the world whose Constitution has provisions on the blue economy. Article 95(l) of the Constitution provides for the maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future,” the Vice President said.
With a coastline of over 1500 km, and an Exclusive Economic Zone of over 500, 000 square kilometres, Namibia has one of the most productive upwelling fishery systems in the world. Marine mining, marine fishing, maritime transport and storage, coastal and marine tourism, as well as manufacturing in the coastal areas collectively earn the country about N$53.8 billion, which translates to 28.8% of the Country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Other resources that are yet to be exploited include marine wind, tidal and wave energy, marine biotechnology and bio-prospecting.
The blue economy concept is firmly entrenched in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 14 on Life Below Water. Equally so, Goal 6 of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, on the Blue and Ocean Economy, is positioning Africa to work collectively towards promoting marine resources and energy as critical elements for accelerating economic growth.
The importance that the AU Member States attach to the theme of this event, was further cemented when the AU Commission Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, was transformed into the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Environment.
Namibia also participated in the Sustainable Blue Economy Summit that took place in Kenya, in November 2018. The Summit was geared towards encouraging global action to ensure that economic resources in oceans, lakes and rivers are utilised in a sustainable way.
Dr. Mbumba said oceans, lakes and rivers were part of a global aquatic ecosystem that plays a critical role in sustaining life on earth, as we know it today. It produces about 70% of oxygen, regulates global temperatures, wind movements and rainfall patterns. In addition, this natural resource is an enabler for energy production, and is a medium for transport and tourism activities.
“However, the world’s water bodies and ecosystems are under threat from human activities, including overfishing and pollution that has led to climate change. The global trends on overfishing and illegal, unregulated as well as unreported fishing are threatening global fish stocks. Namibia continues to address these challenges head on, as neglecting them negatively affects sustainable jobs, food security and economic growth. The protection of our oceans, lakes and rivers can therefore not be overemphasized,” Vice President said.
He proposed the need for African countries to establish science-based assessments of their marine resources in order to determine what is available, where it is located, and how much can be harvested sustainably.
“We further need to monitor, control and have surveillance over illegal activities in our Exclusive Economic Zones and open seas. Namibia is in the process of developing its regulatory framework on the blue economy. The exercise will streamline and harmonise existing policies, as it relates to the blue economy. We believe that this exercise will, amongst others, improve coordination within the sector and will streamline efforts geared towards sustainable utilization of our precious oceans and rivers,” Vice President Dr. Mbumba concluded.
Courtesy of Invest Namibia Journal.
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