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Minister Molewa urges Abidjan Convention signatories to embrace concept of Blue Economy

20 March 2014

 

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, has urged the Abidjan Convention member states to embrace the concept of the blue economy. The is in line with the convention theme - Promoting Blue Growth in Africa: Towards Sustainable Management of Marine Resources. We as the Parties to the Convention, as well as our partners, need to examine how we should embrace the concept of the “Blue Economy.” Our oceans and coasts must be seen for the potential it has to grow the prosperity of our nations and well-being of our people,” she said during her address to the ministerial segment of the Abidjan Convention.

Minister Molewa also referred to the AU Summit’s enthusiasm and support for the exploration of the continent’s blue economy. “At the AU Summit held in Addis Ababa in January 2014, the Heads of State formally acknowledged that Africa’s oceans are essential to the sustainable development of the Continent and that they should play a critical role in shaping Africa’s Common Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals. This should be seen in the context of Africa’s own long-term sustainable development aspirations, as encapsulated in the Agenda 2063,” Molewa told the delegates.

As a result of the growing global interest in the concept of the blue economy and oceans as a resource for unlocking such potential, the South African government is in the process of developing a strategy for the Blue Economy. The strategy will enable to the government to sustainably harness the abundant resources of the ocean and coastal domain. As part of this process, the government, through the Department of Environmental Affairs, other relevant government departments and Public Entities, has carried out an analysis of the economic opportunities for South Africa and the region.

A number of key areas such as aquaculture, marine transport, offshore oil and gas exploration would be crucial in growing South Africa’s economy, providing well needed jobs and improving prosperity whilst also ensuring environmental sustainability. In this regard, Minister Molewa told the delegates that “pioneering work is being undertaken to develop environmental standards for off-shore exploration and exploitation activities of mining and mineral resources in the region.”

Africa as a continent faces a myriad of challenges, such as poverty, under-development and environmental degradation.

Decisions expected at the ministerial segment, include the revitalisation of the West and Central Africa Region (WACAF) Action Plan, as well as the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The Abidjan Convention covers the marine environment, coastal zones and related inland waters within the jurisdiction of the States of the West, Central and Southern African Region, from Mauritania to South Africa inclusive, which have become Contracting Parties to the Convention. The Convention is a comprehensive umbrella agreement for the protection and management of the marine and coastal areas. It lists the sources of pollution that require control as: ships, dumping, land-based activities, exploration and exploitation of the seabed, and pollution from or through the atmosphere.

To access the Minister’ speech, click on the link below:

>> Minister Bomo Edna Molewa's opening address during Ministerial Meeting of Abidjan Convention - COP 11.

For media queries, contact:

Mr Zolile Nqayi
Cell: +27 82 898 6483 
E-mail: znqayi@environment.gov.za