Kenya has rallied its Commonwealth nation counterparts to help further develop the regions’ ocean-based economies, which have the potential to attract more investment and create thousands of job opportunities.
The East African nation has reaffirmed its commitment to continue championing exploitation of ‘blue economy’ through the harnessing of natural resources and the promotion of human development.
Speaking during a Commonwealth Foreign Minister’s forum addressing itself to the topics referred to as a ‘More Sustainable Future’ and a ‘More Prosperous Future’, the country’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Monica Juma, said Kenya supports multilateral efforts against piracy through the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and Djibouti.
She called on Commonwealth members to get involved in capacity building to increase Maritime Domain Awareness among its littoral Members to prepare them to take ownership of their maritime security.
“The cooperation in Maritime Security should not be restricted to piracy but to cover other illicit maritime activities such as Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, smuggling of oil, trafficking of drugs, arms, persons, agricultural products, toxic waste dumping and marine pollution,” said Juma.
To this end, Kenya volunteered to be one of the Blue Charter Champions as envisaged by the Commonwealth Heads of Government. The Ministers adopted the Commonwealth Blue Charter, setting out the principles by which Commonwealth member countries will lead international efforts by sustainably developing and protecting their ocean.
They committed to act to safeguard the ocean for future generations. Heads agreed to establish Action Groups on ocean issues led by Commonwealth member countries, which will collaborate with partners at national, regional, and international levels, in addressing identified priority ocean issues of member countries.
The Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
In Africa, they include Botswana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
Cabinet Secretary Juma said Kenya was looking forward to hosting a high profile event dubbed the ‘Blue Economy Forum’ in November and urged Commonwealth members to support the initiative.