STAKEHOLDERS CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP ON NATIONAL BLUE ECONOMY STRATEGY OPENS IN ABUJA

As the National Consultative Workshop on the formulation of the National Blue Economy strategy for Nigeria, organized by the African Union for Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) with funding from the Kingdom of Norway opened in Abuja, the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, H.E. Adegboyega Oyetola, CON, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Olufemi Oloruntola, has submitted that the blue economy presents significant challenges and promising opportunities for sustainable development. He identified one of the greatest challenges in balancing economic growth with environmental conservation.

To Oyetola, over-exploitation of marine resources, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change threaten the health and resilience of ocean ecosystems. The minister wants these challenges to be addressed. “To address the challenges requires concerted efforts to promote responsible resource management, mitigate environmental impacts, and build resilience to climate change.”

The Marine and Blue Economy Minister also identified economic benefits that can accrue when addressing the challenges in the sector. These 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. He sought for Nigeria to ensure that ocean-going vessels and Sea farers’ protection and safety are taken seriously.

Among other participants at the workshop was Mrs. Ben. Okonkwo, the President of Trawlers Owners Association of Nigeria.

There were participants from the 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 Maritime Services Department of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, highlighted the issue of many accidents on Nigerian marine environments where there loss of lives. To him, priority should be placed on preventing these calamities and disasters.

There were also many participants who addressed many thematic areas for the workshop.

Olujimi Oyetomi

Director, Press & Public Relations

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