Applying Blue Economy Principles in Africa in the Context of Climate Change and Marine and Coastal Zones Management

by Abou Bamba  (ELP 2014) | Regional Coordinator, United Nations Environment Program, Cote d’Ivoire

30th Anniversary of the Regional Academy for Maritime Sciences and Technologies
1st August 2017
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

The coasts, the oceans, and the adjacent rivers are among the most treasured resources in any coastal nations. They constitute an important component of the socio economic development process and are an asset for the wellbeing of local peoples.

Unfortunately, the marine and coastal ecosystems of Africa are facing severe degradation and are used as dumpsites; waste waters are dumped into the ocean with no previous treatment in most of the African coastal cities.

Moreover, climate change has been and is still a major driving force behind the transformation of the marine and coastal environment in the region. The most visible impacts are coastal erosion, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, and habitat destruction.

This seriously undermines the socio-economic potential of our coasts and oceans and jeopardizes the functions and benefits that African countries can general from the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources.

Luckily enough, the current situation is not a lost cause and the blue economy – which offers an innovative approach to conserving the oceans, while reaping their benefits in a more equitable and sustainable way – can offer an alternative to the current fragmented governance of the oceans in Africa.

According to UNEP, as a marine analogue to the Green Economy, the Blue Economy approach is based on a vision of “improved well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”

The presentation will explain the Blue Economy principles and indicate how they can successfully be applied – in the context of climate change- to unlock the economic potential of Africa through proper management of fisheries, shipping ports, coastal-based tourism, aquaculture/sea farming, coastal urban planning, improved coastal resiliency, sustainable energy, etc.