Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A group photo of the Ministers and part of the delegates attending the COP 9, Conference at the English point Hotel, Mombasa.

Plans are underway to establish trans-boundary marine protected areas in the Indian Ocean at the country’s border with Tanzania, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Mr. Keriako Tobiko has said.

The setting-up of an estimated 800 square Kilometres of protected area is part of the government’s effort to tackle marine pollution and enhance blue economy he added.

The CS was speaking in Mombasa when he opened the ninth conference of parties to the Nairobi convention whose theme was sustainable ocean economy for wealth creation.

Mr. Tobiko said that the conference will promote sustainable investments in the blue resources and unlock the potential of the oceans frontier.

Among the member countries attending the conference that attracted over 200 delegates were Comoros, Mauritius, Mozambique, Madagascar, Seychelles, South Africa, Somalia and France la Reunion.

During the conference, CS Tobiko was elected chair to the Convention, to serve for two years taking over from Mr.Wallace Cosgrow of Sychelles. Others elected were Madagascar-vice-chair work programs, Mauritius-Resource mobilization, and Tanzania for coordination. The rapporteur’s position went to the republic of Sychelles.

Mr. Tobiko noted that the Oceans had huge potential for human wellbeing that would boost economic growth and tackle unemployment. Further the blue resources addressed food insecurity, poverty and had gained traction worldwide he added.

He said Kenya like other countries in the region , Kenya attached great value to the oceans and the blue resources that contributed immensely to the country’s economy.

‘’ The government in recognition of the importance of the blue economy, has established a state department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy as part of efforts to maximise on the contributions of the blue resources’’ the CS observed.

Mr. Tobiko said that various sectors at the coastal region including tourism, marine transport, shipping, offshore gas and oil exploration and fisheries all played an important role in Kenya’s economic growth.

Further he added that the government had put in place a Blue Economy Implementation Strategy and had identified the Blue Economy as a thematic area in the third Medium Term Plan (MTP 111) that guides the country’s development process every five years.

The government he said had over the last few years made huge investments in Infrastructure at the coast in a bid to open up the blue resources. They included Ndongo-kundu by-pass linking Nairobi-Mombasa highway to the south coast, Makupa-causeway expansion to decongest Mombasa city; expansion of Mombasa port container terminal and the Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) that was considered as the most ambitious infrastructural development in Africa.

The convention is a precursor to the Blue Economy Conference to be held in November in Nairobi attracting an estimated over 6,000 delegates worldwide.

Env &Forestry CS Keriako Tobiko address COP 9,Conference at English Point Hotel,Hotel mombasa.

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