Oceans indispensable to economies – PM

Maritime piracy a threat to all
Namibia supports a strengthened multilateral approach to address the unprecedented threats facing the ocean, the prime minister said.
Ellanie Smit
Namibia is one of 38 coastal states in Africa and is increasingly creating links through road, rail and air transport infrastructure, turning what used to be landlocked countries into sea-linked countries.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said this is a critical development as oceans play an indispensable role in the economies of countries.

She made these remarks at the second United Nations Ocean Conference being held in Lisbon, Portugal, this week.

The prime minister added that the degree of interconnections of the global economy demands that maritime piracy be seen as a common problem and a threat to all.

“It threatens global supply chains and the tourism industry as well as the strategic role of coastal states to support landlocked economies through their ports.”

A shared responsibility

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the international community must therefore address this issue collectively and also support capacity development programmes in developing countries.

“How we relate to and interact with the ocean in all its mystique and as a powerful economic life force will have a direct impact on our effort and capacity to deliver on the shared targets for sustainable development as set out in Agenda 2030.”

She said Namibia draws sustenance and anchors many livelihoods in the ocean economy and therefore feels compelled to play its role in the sustainable use of marine resources.

“As a proud member of the high-level panel on the sustainable ocean economy, we do not only advocate for this in our local context, but extrapolate this to international settings to garner increased commitment and action-orientated support to the important focus on the blue ocean economy.”

Namibia supports a strengthened multilateral approach to address the unprecedented threats facing the ocean, she said, adding that a strong multilateralism will support the mobilisation of financial resources and address challenges such as overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.

Work together

“Equally, it is only through strong multilateralism that we will address pressing challenges such as climate change, food insecurity, diseases and pandemics, diminishing biodiversity, economic inequality and conflict and strife. We must act now to protect the state of our ocean.”

Namibia continues to strengthen its policy framework to support an action-oriented approach to sustainably leveraging the benefits of the ocean, the prime minister told delegates.

She highlighted the negative impacts of pollution, saying that if land pollution measures are poorly implemented, ocean pollution is inevitable.

“In this regard, investments should be increased to prevent and manage pollution both on land and in the ocean.”

Support for ongoing efforts for sustainable ocean management, investment in science, research and development should be increased as this will help generate data and support development of new technologies, she said.