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The Blue Economy and  technicalities of development

The Blue Economy and technicalities of development

AS world leaders convene at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26 in Glasgow, the Zanzibar Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries, in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the European Union Delegation to Tanzania and Embassies of Ireland and France, were calling for increased commitment to coastal and marine conservation.

In the opening of the two-day workshop organized by IUCN, Minister for Blue Economy and Fisheries (BEF), Dr Abdallah Hussein Kombo said Zanzibar, and indeed the United Republic of Tanzania, is on course to engage in regional and global dialogue processes that address Blue Economy and Ocean Governance.

The launch of the ‘Towards a Resilient and Inclusive Blue Economy in Zanzibar and Tanzania’ has happened at a time when Indian Ocean states are preparing to launch the Great Blue Wall initiative at the UNFCCC COP26. Ocean governance is at the centre of the current climate discussions at the COP26 in Glasgow.

The Great Blue Wall initiative is a movement that will accelerate and upscale ocean conservation actions to the benefit of over 70 million people in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. According to the Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries, Dr Aboud Jumbe says Tanzania has given commitment to implement the Great Blue Wall Initiative.

Dr Jumbe says “The new partnership that we are all witnessing between Tanzania and the Development Partners bears testimony to the commitment that our governments have shown in embracing Blue Economy and conservation of the ocean ecosystems,”. Also, the ocean-based economy is not a new phenomenon in Zanzibar.

Although the people of Zanzibar have engaged in domestic and international ocean-based activities for many centuries, the current Blue Economy Policy along with its strategy and implementation plan are designed to transform the livelihoods of the present and future generations through sustained programs of empowerment, social inclusion, industrial investments and ocean conservation.

IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Luther Anukur says IUCN aims to promote synergies for collective action among different stakeholders as well as improve understanding on the linkages between biodiversity conservation and a sustainable Blue Economy.

“IUCN believes equitable partnerships and the inclusion of local communities are key to achieving a sustainable blue economy. The stewardship of our marine and coastal resources is extremely valuable in ensuring ecosystem services support the national economy and livelihoods of many,” he says.

Elaborating, Anukur says they seek to map key opportunities, barriers as well as recommendations and priorities for integrating biodiversity considerations in the Blue Economy.

The event will showcase programmes that demonstrate the development of a blue economy while contributing to long-term effective, equitable and inclusive conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The outcomes of the launching will feed into the on-going design and subsequent implementation of the Blue Economy Strategy and related operational frameworks France Ambassador to Tanzania, Nabil Hajlaoui says France sees the ocean as a common good.

As they produce more than half of the oxygen they breathe, the ocean is the lung of humanity. He says it is urgent to protect the sanctuary of biodiversity that their President, Emmanuel Macron called the first edition of the One Ocean Summit which will take place in Brest in January 2022.

“Today, we are gathered in Zanzibar to support the design and implementation of a resilient and inclusive Blue Economy. France is committed to work closely with Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland as we share the same ocean, the same values and objectives, the preservation and protection of the Indian Ocean for the future generation,” says Hajlaoui The Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Tanzania, Cedric Merel says EU has a longstanding approach for a responsible use of oceans and the Blue Economy and it will continue its efforts through the European Green Deal.

“This region is blessed by the Indian Ocean that offers climate regulation, sustains communities with oxygen and food and provides many opportunities for economic, social and cultural development. There cannot be green without blue, and that is why we are wholeheartedly supporting Zanzibar’s Blue Economy Drive,” he said.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Mary O’Neill reiterated the importance of the Blue Economy to both Ireland and Zanzibar. “As an island, Ireland recognizes the importance and challenges faced by oceans and coastal communities. “Our development policies prioritize oceans and sustainable Blue Economy, thus our Embassy in Tanzania is proud to be working with authorities in Tanzania and Zanzibar and Team Europe in Tanzania to catalyze ocean conservation, governance and sustainable blue economy efforts,” says O’Neill.

The workshop and launch brings together more than 80 delegates from across Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland, comprising Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Ambassadors, Mission Heads, Embassy Heads of Cooperation, Directors of Public and Private Institutions, Local Governments, Programme Leads, Conservationists and community groups.

The event includes three strategic sessions: Blue Economy Symposium, Launch of a new project titled ‘Towards a Blue Tanga-Pemba Seascape’ and a National Dialogue on Governance of Marine Protected and Conserved Areas.

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