Fisheries minister Bernhard Esau told a one-day workshop on Namibia's blue economy policy held in Windhoek on Thursday last week the policy seeks to ensure sustainable and integrated development of the ocean.
In a speech read on his behalf by Anna Arastus, the director for policy planning and economics in the ministry, Esau said the blue economy is anchored on the United Nations sustainable development goal number 14 (Life below water).
“Even though the blue economy is principally about the ocean, it includes inland water bodies such as lakes and rivers, because all water on earth is ecologically interconnected and related with the ocean as the main driver of this water ecosystem.
“The principles of ocean ecosystems are therefore directly applicable to small water bodies such as rivers and lakes,” said Esau.
He said the blue economy in Namibia includes fisheries, marine mining, marine and coastal tourism, maritime transport and coastal infrastructure such as ports, towns and coastal industries.
“Blue economy differs from ocean economy in that it must include the three pillars of blue economy – environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social inclusion.
“A marine business cannot be considered blue if it does not minimise its negative impacts on the environment; does not have an inclusive ownership structure and does not maximise the creation of jobs,” said Esau.
The workshop was attended by representatives of government ministries, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and members of the public.
A drafting committee has been established and has already developed a policy development roadmap.
The committee will come up with a draft policy from inputs from a public consultation meeting held at Walvis Bay on 17 June and those from Thursday's workshop. The committee is supported by the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem project III, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility.
Under the fifth National Development Plan that serves as blueprint on how the country can accelerate development, the blue economy is one of the interventions for an inclusive economy, which will eliminate poverty and reduce inequality to achieve Vision 2030 objectives.
Source: Absalom Shigwedha