AU-IBAR and Government of Botswana Initiate National Blue Economy Strategy Development

Tue, 26-03-2024 15:00:00

The African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), in partnership with the Government of Botswana, has embarked on a journey to formulate a comprehensive National Blue Economy Strategy. This collaborative effort signifies a pivotal moment in advancing sustainable marine and aquatic resource utilization not only in Botswana but across the African continent.

Supported by the Government of Norway, this initiative aligns with the broader objective of promoting the harmonized implementation of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy by African Union Member States (AU MS) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This strategic move follows the recommendations made by Honourable Ministers during the 2019 Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water, and Environment (STC-ARDWE), emphasizing the need for comprehensive support in creating awareness, building capacity, and establishing Blue Governance mechanisms.

Extensive consultations at continental, regional, and national levels have led AU-IBAR to develop Implementation Plans and a framework for Blue Governance Coordination Mechanism. The next phase involves providing technical assistance to selected AU member states, including Botswana, to develop National Blue Economy Strategies, Implementation Plans, and Blue Governance Mechanisms.

Botswana's inclusion in this initiative is part of a larger effort facilitated by the Government of Norway, which has also extended similar support to countries like Egypt, with plans for Nigeria in the pipeline. These endeavors are aimed at fostering sustainable Blue Economy development across the African continent. Additionally, AU-IBAR is actively engaged in developing regional strategies for the Union du Maghreb Arabe (UMA) and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (Cen-SAD).

The workshop, held in Gaborone from 26th to 28th March 2028, is a crucial component of this initiative. It features presentations on the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES), its Implementation Plan, and mechanisms for Blue Governance Coordination. Furthermore, sessions will focus on information sharing regarding Blue Economy sectors in Botswana, identifying priority issues, and delineating thematic areas for the National Blue Economy Strategy. The workshop will culminate in the presentation of a draft National Blue Economy Strategy, Implementation Plans, and Governance Coordination Mechanism, subject to discussion and refinement before finalization.

Honourable Molebatsi Molebatsi, Deputy Minister of Botswana's Ministry of Agriculture, expressed his enthusiasm for participating in this pivotal development during the workshop in Gaborone. He commended AU-IBAR and his colleagues for their preparations. Despite Botswana's limited water resources, Hon Molebatsi highlighted the significant potential of existing water bodies for blue economy development, especially for marginalized communities. Hon. Molebatsi further emphasized the importance of a holistic approach in the Blue Economy Strategy, aligning with regional, continental, and global policies to overcome governance issues, knowledge gaps, pollution, and resource limitations. 

The launch of Botswana's National Blue Economy Strategy represents a major step forward in fostering sustainable economic growth and environmental conservation, in line with the Policy Framework Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa. This underscores Africa's dedication to leveraging its marine and aquatic resources for the well-being of current and future generations.