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Blue economy conference opens in Kenya amid
call for enhanced use of water resources 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The inaugural blue economy conference kicked off in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Monday, calling for prioritizing sustainable management of water resources to boost food security, climate mitigation, industrial growth and employment creation.

More than 1,700 delegates from 183 countries, including heads of state and government, ministers, industry executives, representatives of multilateral agencies, scientists and green campaigners, are attending the first ever blue economy summit to be held in Africa.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his address said that a vibrant blue economy is key to promoting inclusive growth, climate resilience, cross border trade and advanced manufacturing.

“The sustainable harnessing of maritime resources is key for job creation, poverty eradication and economic growth,” said Kenyatta, adding that Kenya aims to become a blue economy powerhouse through promoting investments in aquaculture and maritime transport.

Dozens of heads of state and government drawn mainly from Africa are attending the 3-day blue economy summit that seeks to strengthen the link between maritime resources and sustainable development.

The Nairobi conference will discuss challenges hampering sustainable utilization of marine and fresh water resources like pollution, climate change, piracy and illegal fishing and explore durable solutions.

  Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta delivers his opening speech at the ongoing Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi. XINHUA/YANG ZHEN

Seychelles President Danny Faure said that blue economy is at the heart of global efforts to achieve shared prosperity, peace and security.

“This conference will showcase the enormous opportunities in the blue economy that we can seize upon to achieve sustainable development,” Faure said.

Kenya is co-hosting the inaugural blue economy conference with Canada and Japan amid concerted efforts to protect the planet’s water resources to achieve the green agenda.

Pavan Sukhdev, president of the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) International, said that action on plastics and other non-bio degradable waste choking the oceans should be intensified to unlock their potential.

“We have an opportunity to grow fisheries sector by ensuring plastic waste is removed from our oceans,” Sukhdev remarked, adding that placing a monetary value to marine and inland fresh water resources is key to enhancing their conservation.



EU Commissioner calls for joint global management of marine resources

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) has called for effective management of fish stocks, proper utilization of maritime space and joint planning and management of the world’s oceans at a global conference on sustainable blue economy currently under way in Nairobi, Kenya.

Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries told the conference the world must not repeat the same mistakes it has made on the utilization of land by doing the same at sea and that the world’s marine resources must be shared and planned.

Vella said President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has recently proposed a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa.

The alliance is expected to help create at least 10 million jobs in Africa within the next five years, the EU Commissioner said.

He said the Sustainable Fisheries Agreement signed between the EU and other African countries will help to provide technical support in sustainable and environmental friendly fishing.

“Dedicated support to develop the blue economy in our partner countries can be included in these agreements. We can also team up in fighting illegal fishing,” the EU official said.

The EU Commissioner said efforts to curb illegal fishing led to an increment in the fish stocks. This is a result of controls against illegal fishing in some 50 countries cooperating with the EU to curb misuse of the resources at sea.


China to support global efforts to revitalize growth of blue economy: envoy

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- China will rally behind global efforts to promote growth of blue economy in line with sustainable development agenda, said a Chinese government official on Monday.

Xu Jinghu, special representative of the Chinese government on African affairs told the sustainable blue economy conference under way in Nairobi that Beijing has supported global efforts to boost growth of blue economy through improved governance and sharing of knowledge and expertise to strengthen conservation of marine ecosystem.

“China calls for a blue economy partnership and the resolution of ocean issues through cooperation,” said Xu.

Kenya is hosting the first ever blue economy conference to take place in Africa that has drawn more than 10,000 participants from 183 countries.

More than ten Heads of State and Government mainly drawn from Africa, representatives of multilateral agencies, industry executives, ministers, scientists and grassroots campaigners are attending the three-day conference.

Xu said that blue economy has become an integral component of sustainability agenda hence the need for key stakeholders to pay enough attention to the sector.

“Blue economy is part and parcel to the development of ocean countries and has already become a new engine of the global economy,” Xu remarked, adding that prudent use of marine resources is key to achieve the UN 2030 goals and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.

The envoy said that China has supported global efforts to boost growth of blue economy through improved governance and sharing of knowledge and expertise to strengthen conservation of marine ecosystem.

“At the same time, in jointly building the Belt and Road, China will work for greater complementarity in ocean economy strategies and industries among countries, share our experience in the development of ocean economy, actively explore bilateral and multilateral cooperation ranging from marine resources development and protection, mariculture, fishery and marine tourism,” said Xu.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing in early September also adopted an initiative that covers blue economy cooperation between China and Africa.

Xu said that China is ready to offer technical and financial support that is required to spur growth of blue economy in Africa and other developing countries.


Seychelles wins praise for role in promoting blue economy at key conference

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Delegates from around the world attending a conference on how to effectively utilize the marine resources for sustainable economic empowerment of communities have praised Seychelles for successfully launching initiatives to benefit from its oceans and seas.

The delegates attending the world’s first Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi on Monday, jointly hosted by the governments of Kenya, Canada and Japan, singled out Seychelles for its “progressive action” to effectively utilize and protect marine resources to develop diversified economies.

“We have witnessed how progressive actions by some of the countries represented here to sustainably use, nature and protect marine resources have enabled these countries to develop vibrant, diversified and inclusive economies,” said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, referring to Seychelles and Canada.

Seychelles recently won international acclaim from the World Bank and other international financial institutions when it became the first country to issue a “blue bond,” the world’s first ever blue sovereign bond to raise about 15 million U.S. dollars to finance investments in fisheries development.

The Bond’s proceeds are to be used to expand the capacity of local fishing communities, safeguard oceans and expand protected marine zones, in addition to better conserving the marine and wildlife resources at sea and making them more environmentally sustainable.

The three-day conference is seeking the commitment of the world leaders and governments to use the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to enrich the economies of their countries and to avoid environmental risks associated with the misuse of natural resources.

According to Kenyatta, two thirds of the global waters lie beyond the national jurisdiction. This means that action in one sea will have positive or negative effect on other seas.

“Success in managing our global aquatic resources for sustainable global development, therefore, critically hinges on us working together,” President Kenyatta said.

Seychelles President Danny Faure said his country was committed to the redoubling of efforts to ensure blue economy policies are included in all the policies agreed upon around Africa.

He said Seychelles would ensure the integration of the blue economy policies in all sectors.

Faure, who was recently appointed the African Union Champion for the Blue Economy, said his country and Mauritius, would also work jointly on the conservation and management of their marine resources.

He said Seychelles showed its commitment to the blue economy drive by offering to host the headquarters of the pan African shipping owners association in its country.

He called for the establishment of a regional mechanism for the monitoring of shipping lines at sea.


Kenya and Huawei to partner to monitor water
quality to boost access to clean water

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Chinese technology firm Huawei plan to partner to monitor water quality in order to boost access to clean water, officials said on Monday.

Fred Nyongesa, water quality manager of Water Resource Authority (WRA) told Xinhua in Nairobi that they are in discussions to sign an agreement with Huawei to begin monitoring water quality in early 2019.

“Under the agreement Huawei will install telemetric systems to relay water quality data to WRA database on a real time basis to check for disease causing organisms as well as to enhance the safety of aquatic ecology,” Nyongesa said during the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference currently under way in Nairobi, Kenya.

Nyongesa said that once the system is in place, it will enable government to track water polluters on a real time basis using remote sensing.

He added that currently 60 percent of all surface water in urban areas and 40 percent of all water bodies in rural areas are polluted.

Nyongesa revealed that contamination of water bodies is largely due to illegal discharge of solid and liquid waste into rivers, lakes and streams.

WRA is currently conducting a survey on the country’s six water catchments areas to assess and classify their levels of pollution.

Prateek Bhatt, channel solution manager at Huawei said that the water monitoring system is currently working in China.

Bhatt said that its water quality monitoring system works through sensors that are installed at strategic locations to gather data which is stored at private and public cloud.

“We have developed a communication platform that is robust enough to extract valuable data according to how it is configured,” he said.



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