President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday kicked off the first day of the maiden global sustainable Blue Economy conference at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Conference Center.
The conference which is being co-hosted by Japan and Canada according to President Kenyatta seeks to harness the promise and address the vulnerabilities of the blue economy.
“I am excited by the enormous economic prospects of the blue economy. It binds us to a common destiny. Oceans are at the heart of our planet, they contain 97 per cent of the earth’s water supply and nearly half the oxygen that we breathe,” President Kenyatta said.
“They also absorb over a quarter of the Carbon dioxide that humans and animals produce all the while regulating the world’s weather and temperature. They support livelihoods by offering employment opportunities, maritime trade and a transport conduit.”
The President on the other hand pointed out that man has not paid adequate attention to the utilization and maintenance of the critical resource.
He said that: “We have paid inadequate attention to the impact of human action on the health and productivity of our waters and as a result many of our ocean systems are under immense stress. We are already feeling the impact of plastics in our oceans and climate change that could potentially lead to the flooding of large sections of the world’s coastal economies.”
President Kenyatta however insisted that some countries such as Canada and Seychelles; who are represented in the conference, have made great strides in the nurturing and protecting of maritime resources and only through global collective action can their progress be sustained.
“These countries have been able to develop vibrant and inclusive economies. By convening here today we have committed to share and adopt transformative ways that will assist in maintaining and utilizing our maritime resources,” he pointed out.
He added that: “However, such action must be collective. Action in one sea will have a positive effect on other seas. Only by working together can we successfully manage our global aquatic resources.”
In addition, the President pledged that he and his government would do their part in promoting the realization of an improved blue economy. This, according to the Head of State, will be achieved by: adopting appropriate policies to harness the blue economy, confronting head on the challenges of waste management, creating more job opportunities in the sector and aggressively combatting illegal fishing.
The Blue Economy conference will conclude on November 28, 2018. It is estimated that more than 4000 delegates from a host of countries will grace the summit.