By Samuel Ouma
Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Zanzibar, Mozambique and Seychelles have united to contrive policies aiming at safeguarding their marine and aquatic resources so as to improve their economies.
The heads of these states in addition to the African Union chairperson Mousa Faki among other leaders are holding a three day Global Sustainable Blue economy Conference in Nairobi.
Speaking during the inauguration of the conference yesterday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed four new measures Kenya will implement to boost its blue economy. The measures are: adoption and introduction of new policies, head-on confrontation of waste management and plastic pollution in waters, responsible and sustainable fishing and security in the seas.
The Head of the State also announced the formation of the Blue Economy Implementation Standing committee to enlarge institutional governance mechanism to improve coordinated management of the blue economy.
Upgrading of the Kenya Maritime School, revival of maritime transport and adoption of a programme to accelerate the development of fisheries are the strategies that are expected to complement the measures.
The leaders noted that blue economy will stimulate trade, increase revenue and create jobs. Kenyatta appealed to the leaders to be keen on the impact of human action on the health and productivity of maritime resources.
“We have paid inadequate attention to the impact of human action on the health and productivity of our waters and as a result, many of the ocean systems are under immense stress. Their ability to act as a climate regulator and as a key engine for economic and sustainable development is being progressively eroded,” Kenyatta said.
His Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni suggested the removal of those who have invaded riparian land. He gave an example of how his country is using eccentric means to eject those leaving in wetlands.
“We are trying to bribe our people who encroached wetlands to get out. It is a type of a bribe but it is better than using crude methods because we might lose votes if they are violently evicted,” he said.
The stakeholders are expected deliberate on the opportunities and challenges and practical actions that can be taken to help the world change to change to blue economy.
The conference comes just one week after President Kenyatta launched Coast Guard Services at coastal region to protect maritime resources.