AU-IBAR is supporting Kenya in the formulation of a masterplan for Sustainable Coastal, Marine Tourism and Mining Activities, as well as strengthening regulatory frameworks towards aquatic biodiversity conservation and ecosystems. The support is being offered by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through the Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity Programme in the Africa Blue Economy Project. A kick-off workshop will be held from 22-24 March 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya towards that effort.
There will be technical seminars during the three-day conference. The first session will set the stage through project presentations, including a presentation of the research report on CMT & Mining operations and a discussion of key national instruments/regulatory frameworks on coastal, marine tourist, gas and oil exploration, and mining activities. Significant working group brainstorming sessions will be performed to determine the master plan's key areas (namely, Coastal and Marine Tourisms; Oil and Gas Exploration and Minerals). Prior to the group meetings, there will be presentations on the overview of the National Master Plan and the TORs for Working Groups, as well as arrangements and participant distribution.
This initiative is expected to support five countries in total. For 2023, Nigeria, Gabon, and Kenya have been selected as member states to receive assistance in developing or enhancing their national masterplans and regulatory frameworks. The support would include funding for three national consultative sessions with key stakeholders to produce national masterplans, as well as funding for the formation or strengthening of appropriate regulatory frameworks.
Around thirty people will be selected nationwide from the tourist, oil and gas or other mining industry sectors such as the private Sector, company owners, investors and national oil industry actors as well as key members of staff of the AU-IBAR.
All things considered, the continent is blessed with extensive systems of rivers, lakes, lagoons, floodplains, waterways, and wetlands that have tremendous potential for the continent's economic and social development. Marine and inland waters (lakes, rivers, and reservoirs) in Kenya, Gabon, and Nigeria contribute significantly to national development in three key areas: i) food and nutrition security through fisheries and aquaculture; ii) economic and social development through marine and coastal tourism, shipping, mining, energy, and iii) ecosystem services (such as carbon sequestration, water filtration, atmospheric and temperature regulation, and protection from flooding and erosion).
However, overfishing, pollution from land-based sources, mangrove deforestation, climate change, and ocean acidification are among the foremost threats to the resources of the oceans and inland waters and are rapidly eroding the associated benefits.
Harnessing the potential of marine and aquatic natural capital is the goal of the Blue Economy, a concept that encompasses the development of such resources on the basis of principles of environmental sustainability, social access and justice, and transparent governance. Hence, the goal of this idea is to protect the health of the world's seas, coasts, rivers, and lakes while also fostering economic development and preserving or enhancing people's livelihoods. There couldn't be a better moment for this help to arrive.