South Africa participates in the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Kenya
25 November 2018
The Minister of Transport Dr Blade Nzimande will lead a South African delegation to the High Level Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC) set to take place in Nairobi, Kenya from 26 to 28 November 2018. The conference is organised under the theme: Blue Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Conference, which will be addressed by the President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta and other global leaders, brings together over 4000 participants from around the world to learn how to build a blue economy that, amongst others, leverages the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving our waters for future generations.
The goal of the Conference is to have action-oriented discussions pertaining to a sustainable blue economy strategy that is people-centric, with ocean centric investments. South Africa is providing support to this Conference and will actively be participating in the respective forums and thematic areas.
Minister Nzimande will deliver South Africa’s statement of commitment to the Sustainable Blue Economy which is locally known as Oceans Economy. In 2014, Government launched the Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy programme, bringing together all stakeholders from Government, private sector, civil society, academics and labour, to interrogate the ocean sectors and develop detailed delivery plans to unlock the economic potential of South Africa's oceans, which could contribute up to R177 billion to the GDP by 2033 and create between 800 000 and 1 million direct jobs in nine (9) ocean sectors.
South Africa has a coastline of approximately 4 900 km (mainland South Africa and the two Sub-Antarctic territories, Prince Edward and Marion Islands in the Southern Ocean) and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ) of approximately 1.5 million square kilometres under its jurisdiction. Its ocean space, which is one of the most varied in the world, is highly productive with rich in biodiversity, providing living and non-living resources that contribute significantly to the country’s economy and to job creation. As such, efforts to grow and intensify the oceans economy must also provide the necessary protection to a representative sample of marine ecosystems, thereby ensuring their resilience to human use and impact, and to the impacts associated with climate change.
Since its inception, Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy has secured investments of USD2 billion (ZAR28.7 billion) from both Government and the Private Sector. These investments have been mainly in infrastructure (particularly in ports), marine manufacturing (boatbuilding), aquaculture and seismic surveys in the offshore oil and gas sector. The initiative has created 6 637 direct jobs, with approximately 437 694 jobs in the total ocean sectors.
South Africa will host a side event alongside the conference, wherein Government will showcase innovative approaches, progress and highlights in the different focus areas of Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy.
The focus areas are:
- Marine Transport and Manufacturing;
- Offshore Oil and Gas;
- Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance;
- Coastal and Marine Tourism; and
- Small Harbours Development.
Cross-cutting strategies, as enablers include: Skills Development and Capacity Building and Research, Technology and Innovation led by the Department of Science and Technology. At the side event, particular emphasis will be placed on South Africa’s contribution to ocean sustainability and the recent decision by Cabinet to declare 20 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which represents at least 5% of South Africa’s EEZ under protection, protecting the marine biodiversity, fish spawning and nursery areas, livelihood opportunities and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy is premised on the principles of sustainable development and the empowerment of Women, Youth and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), implementing the transformational agenda of the South African Government, is at the heart of this programme. It is for this reason that sustainable development is a fundamental base of the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy programme.
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