From 16 to 17th of February ECOWAS organised a virtual meeting for the validation of ECOWAS Blue Economy strategy
Following the endorsement of the Comprehensive Strategic Framework for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (CSF-SFAD) by the Head of States and Government of the ECOWAS member States, the Director of Agriculture and Rural development (DARD), under the leadership of the Honorable Commissioner of Financial Affairs and Agriculture of ECOWAS, had developed a Blue Economy Strategic Framework (ECOBESF).
The ECOBESF is aligned to the African Union Blue Economy Strategy (ABES) and both consolidate the following five detailed thematic technical reports that are annexed to the Strategy: (i) Fisheries, aquaculture, conservation and sustainable aquatic ecosystems; (ii) Shipping/transportation, trade, ports, maritime security, safety and enforcement; (iii) Coastal and maritime tourism, climate change, resilience, environment, infrastructure; (iv) Sustainable energy and mineral resources and innovative industries; and (v) Policies, institutional and governance, employment, job creation and poverty eradication, innovative financing.
The objective of the ECOBESF is to guide the development of an inclusive and sustainable blue economy that becomes a significant contributor to continental transformation and growth, through advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, environmental sustainability, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport, the management of fishing activities on these aquatic spaces, and the exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea minerals and other resources. ECOBESF can be a major contributor to the regional transformation, sustainable economic progress, and social development.
The Consultation was inaugurated by the Honorable minister of Maritime economy, fisheries and coastal conservation from Togo alongside with the Representative of the European Union Commission and the ECOWAS Commission. The experts were from the fifteen member countries, AUC, AU-IBAR, NEAD-AUDA, FAO, African Development Group, and other individual experts.
The strategy aims at reinforcing the commitments of African countries to work towards the SDGs, particularly SDG 14 “life below water”, the vision of Agenda 2063 and to accelerate implementation of AU policies and instruments such as the AU 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy, the AU-Lomé Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development, and the Revised African Maritime Transport Charter, and the CSF-SFAD/ECOWAP/CAADP.
The final document was discussed, by the experts from the region and outside of west Africa, from 16 to 17th of February, 2023 during this virtual technical consultation meeting for the validation of the ECOWAS Blue Economy strategy.