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Blue Economy Has Potentials For Sustainable Devt In Nigeria – Oyetola

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Monday, reiterated that the Blue Economy has opportunities for sustainable development in the country.

Oyetola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation and Marine/ Blue Economy, Olufemi Oloruntola, made the statement in Abuja, at the National Consultative Workshop on the formulation of the National Blue Economy strategy for Nigeria.

The workshop, which attracted participants from different sectors of the economy, was organized by the African Union for Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), with funding from the Kingdom of Norway.

The Minister pointed out that the Blue Economy has significant challenges as well as promising opportunities for sustainable development, identified one of the greatest challenges in balancing economic growth with environmental conservation.

Oyetola noted that over-exploitation of marine resources, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change were threatening the health and resilience of ocean ecosystems.

Expressing desire to get these problems solved, said: “To address the challenges requires concerted efforts to promote responsible resource management, mitigate environmental impacts, and build resilience to climate change.”

He also identified economic benefits that could accrue when addressing the challenges in the sector, which include the potential to drive inclusive growth, create employment opportunities, and alleviate poverty, particularly in coastal and island communities.

“When we choose to harness the vast potential of our oceans sustainably, we can unlock new sources of economic value, such as fisheries, aquaculture, marine tourism, renewable energy, and biotechnology.

“Furthermore, investments in research, innovation, and technology can unlock new solutions for ocean conservation, resource efficiency, and climate resilience, thus paving the way for a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Before the technical session came up, the Minister’s representative identified the objectives of the workshop.

The Stakeholders’ Consultative Workshop for National Blue Economy Strategy for Nigeria was put in place by AU-IBAR and drew participants such as CSO – the Founder African Maritime Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMES), Dr. Felicia Chinwe; Dr. Awwal Bamanga of the Marine Environment of the NIMASA who dwelt on Shipping and Marine Transportation.

Also, one of the major participants at the workshop was Mrs Ben. Okonkwo, the President of the Trawlers Owners Association of Nigeria.

In his speech, the Director of AU-IBAR, Dr Huyam Salih, highlighted the purpose of the workshop, saying: “The overall objective of the workshop here today will be to determine priority issues and thematic areas for the informed and evidence-based formulation of National Blue Economy Strategy for Nigeria, with accompanying implementation plans and the Governance Coordination Framework.

“The Workshop will also provide an appropriate platform for awareness creation, capacity building and sharing of best practices of the application of the Blue Economy concept to the key relevant stakeholders in Nigeria; Support setting up Blue Governance Mechanisms to ensure planning and coordination at the national level as well as to solicit inputs from stakeholders to improve the Key Issues articulated by the consultant.”

Salih, who Mr Obinna Anozie represented, noted further that the Blue Economy had been identified as a potential game changer for Africa’s sustainable socio-economic development, stating that the African Union Ministers at the 3rd session of the Specialized Technical Committee (AUC–STC) in October 2019 recognized this potential and charged the African Union to support awareness enhancing, capacity building on the blue economy concept as well as the formulation of blue economy strategies at national and regional levels of the
continent.

The stakeholders’ workshop also had participants from Academia, such as the University of Ibadan’s Fisheries and Aquaculture, Professor Flora Olaifa, who advocated research and planning in the Marine and Blue Economy.

Mr Babatunde Sule, the Director of the Maritime Services Department of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, highlighted the issue of many accidents in Nigerian marine environments where there was loss of lives, urging that the government should give priority attention to preventing these calamities and disasters, rather than nursing or putting efforts towards managing the problems after they have occurred.

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