Moroccan agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch has said Morocco invites countries concerned with the oceans’ sustainability to join Morocco’s Blue Belt initiative.
Rabat – “Morocco strongly urges all countries and organizations concerned with the oceans’ sustainability issue to join [Blue Belt] initiative which aims to protect 10% of the world’s coastal and marine areas, restore degraded habitats and seabeds, and foster the emergence of greener fishing fleets,” Akhannouch said Monday at the Sustainable Blue Economy conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
Morocco launched the Blue Belt initiative at the COP22 summit in November 2016 in Marrakech.
Akhannouch explained that the initiative is a collaborative platform for state and non-state actors to design, finance, and implement new sustainable economic activities related to the “blue economy,” a reference to marine life, Maghreb Arab Press reported.
It is also a platform for solutions to adapt the fisheries and aquaculture sectors to climate change.
“What brings us together today is a shared commitment to moving towards a sustainable blue economy,” Akhannouch stressed.
The minister recalled King Mohammed VI’s speech at the “Africa Action Summit” at COP22.
The King proposed to build “an African continent that is resilient to climate change and that commits resolutely to sustainable development.”
“An African continent that will use its resources in an optimal way, while respecting environmental and social balances; a continent that will seek to promote inclusive development, in line with the specific features of its identity, particularly the culture of sharing, of fairness and of solidarity,” the monarch said.
The fisheries sector provides a livelihood for about 3 million people in Morocco, Akhannouch noted.
Sustainable development of the ocean economy has been among Morocco’s main concerns since the launch of the Halieutis strategy in 2009, he added.
Morocco, through an Akhannouch-led delegation, is participating in the Sustainable Blue Economy conference, held November 26-28 in Nairobi.
Themed “The blue economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the conference is the first global conference on the blue economy in Africa.
Over 6,000 participants from around the world were expected to take part in the conference to share ideas on how to transition to a blue economy.
Participants will discuss a measure that “harnesses the potential of our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the lives of all, particularly developing states and women and girls.”
They will also discuss innovations and “best practices to build prosperity while conserving our waters for future generations.”