Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged Kenya’s support to contributing to and advancing global conversation on the two important pillars of the Blue Economy.
Speaking to a host of delegations the president said that in taking the bold initiative to host the Conference, his government aims at advancing global conversation sustainability, climate change and controlling pollution on one hand; and production, accelerated economic growth, jobs and poverty alleviation on the other.
“It is my conviction that the Blue Economy presents alternatives that can augment the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this regard, the conference is expected to devote considerable attention to how oceans, seas, lakes and even rivers, can accelerate our collective quest for sustainable economic growth.” President Uhuru said.
The collective goal of the global community is to ensure that there is a strong foundation for the building of sustainable livelihoods. People everywhere are happier when there are more jobs and if collectively, we can say good bye to the menace of extreme poverty; particularly in the developing world. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda number 1 is entirely predicated to this cause.
According to the president, cities and towns hold the greatest promise, as well as the greatest challenge, for the future of human existence. They are the most vibrant economic zones and generate about 75% of global GDP.
“We therefore must address the challenges in our urban areas. We urgently need to give priority to resource use implications and environmental impacts of urbanization. In planning the cities, we need to make them more compact to avoid urban slump and economize on the land under concrete.” He noted
“I am deeply concerned about the challenges to sustainable use of this critical resource. The blue economy, binds us to a common destiny. Oceans are a t the heart of our planet they contain 97 per cent of the earth’s water supply…further oceans seas and lakes support livelihoods food security and productivity of our waters.” The president said in his opening remarks at the conference.
According to the president, we are already feeling the impact of plastics in oceans the 8 million tonnes of plastics that enter the sea each year ate transformed into micro plastics that enter into our food chain and impact ecosystems as well as animal and human health worldwide.
The president has also named four transformative ways to ensuring the country’s environmental resources are protected.
In this, the president pledged to:
- Adopt appropriate policies, strategies, and mechanisms to harness the blue economy to reenergize our national economies and to create greater opportunities and jobs for our people.
- Confront head on the challenges of waste management and plastic pollution that is compromising the health of our people and oceans seas as well as rivers but also threatening food security and bio diversity on land and at sea
- To ensure responsible and sustainable fishing to conserve the endangered fishes and high value fish stocks on which millions of people depend for their livelihood
- To ensure safety and security in the high seas so that global trade connectivity and all businesses can thrive unhindered and un-threatened.
Pollution and waste management is the greatest threat from our cities. Inefficient transport systems and buildings produce about 50 per cent of the Green House Gases, contributing to climate change. Societies thrive when they are open and transparent, and when public participation in policy and decision making is optimal.
“We need to devise new and innovative ways of engaging the creativity of our citizens to tap into their genius and innovations.” The president urged.
According to the president, Kenya cannot compromise the health of our water resources, and the livelihoods of millions by polluting our waters, or by irresponsibly harvesting resources.
An investment approach that embraces sustainable business practices and returns is an imperative. The private sector has to take personal responsibility to protect our aquatic resources.
“Self-regulation is needed to complement the efforts of government regulatory agencies. It is only by businesses working with governments that we can realize the enormous value of the blue economy sectors. My Government is focusing on building and expanding the capacity of our ports, shipping facilities, fisheries, aquaculture, marine safety and security. I invite the private sector to work with us to develop new and innovative ways to protect and manage vulnerable areas of our Oceans.” Said the president.