Kenya hosts world’s first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference

By Stop Illegal Fishing:12th Dec, 2018: Event Coverage

The world’s first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference took place in Nairobi, Kenya on 26th to 28th November 2018. Hosted by Kenya, and co-hosted by Canada and Japan, the event drew considerable support and interest with over 18,000 delegates from 184 countries attending. Participation came from world leaders, government officials, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, academia and civil society. The Conference is preparatory to the United Nations Ocean’s Conference 2020, which Kenya will be co-hosting with Portugal.

The issues of blue development are of particular significance in Africa, with 38 of Africa’s 54 countries being coastal states and more than 90% of import-export occurring via the sea. The territorial waters controlled by African nations stretch out over 13 million km², with a continental shelf of about 6.5 million km², including exclusive economic zones. For the African Union, the blue economy represents a new frontier of African renaissance with Africa’s vast lakes and rivers and extensive ocean resource base expected to play a major role in Africa’s structural transformation, sustainable economic progress, and social development. The largest sectors of the current African aquatic and ocean-based economy are fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transport, ports, coastal mining and energy[1].

The sea as an economic entity is a new concept in Africa. For a long time, the continent didn’t have the means to exploit marine resources, or the means to assert political power over the seas. Whilst blue economic activities can be hampered by natural phenomena like storms and rising sea levels, it is human activities such as illegal fishing, piracy, and trafficking that pose the most significant threats.

Stopping illegal fishing, and the development of effective tools to achieve blue justice were recurring themes of the conference. The changing face of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and the global implications of this were discussed at a side-event hosted by H.E Mwangi Kiunjuri, Kenya’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation. Per Erik Bergh, representing Stop Illegal Fishing and the FISH-i Africa Task Force, stated, “FISH-i has shone a light on the systematic criminal nature of much of the illegal fishing taking place in the Western Indian Ocean. Not only is this activity stealing the food from our plates and the money from our pockets, it is undermining the governance of African countries, and their maritime domains. We will not see sustainable blue growth until this illegal activity is stopped.”

Mr Bergh added, “I am pleased to see the significant interest and attendance at this conference. We need the commitments made here to be translated into action on the ground and at sea, to ensure that the fisheries resources of developing countries become part of their success.”

In his closing remarks, President Kenyatta emphasized: “The truly global representation and the far-reaching and collectively beneficial outcomes of the conference demonstrate the transformative power of multilateralism.” He highlighted commitments made, including: the development of solid environmental standards; the strengthening of political leadership and international collaboration; and, the provision of support to poorer countries to address threats such as IUU fishing.

The outcomes of the conference were captured in the Nairobi Statement of Intent on Advancing the Global Sustainable Blue Economy.

[1] UNEC: Africa’s Blue Economy: A policy handbook, 2016, http://repository.uneca.org/bitstream/handle/10855/23014/b11560836.pdf?sequence=1

Recent Posts

Tanzania convicts captain, owner and agent of BUAH NAGA NO 1 for unlawful shark finning

The Taiwanese Captain of Malaysian long liner BUAH NAGA NO 1, Mr Han...

Read More...

We can’t stop fish imports from China, Treasury now tells Kenyans

The National Treasury has defended the importation of fish from China for local...

Read More...

Does West Africa Benefit from Foreign Trawling?

Coastal and island countries are increasingly looking to the sea to provide food...

Read More...

Tanzania: Maritime Institute to Build Sh7bn College in Mkuranga

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania will soon start to produce more experts on...

Read More...

SIF News Categories

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

Read More...

Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...

Recent Posts

Tanzania convicts captain, owner and agent of BUAH NAGA NO 1 for unlawful shark finning

The Taiwanese Captain of Malaysian long liner BUAH NAGA NO 1, Mr Han...

Read More...

We can’t stop fish imports from China, Treasury now tells Kenyans

The National Treasury has defended the importation of fish from China for local...

Read More...

Does West Africa Benefit from Foreign Trawling?

Coastal and island countries are increasingly looking to the sea to provide food...

Read More...