Sustainable Blue Economy policy takes shape

The public consultations process on the development of a Blue Economy Policy for the country officially began in Walvis Bay.

23 June 2019 | Ministries

Bernard Esau; Minister; A marine business cannot be considered Blue Economy if it does not minimise its negative impacts on the environment . . .

Walvis Bay - Otis Finck

The technical committee on Blue Economy hosted a public consultative meeting on the Sustainable Blue Economy Policy at the Walvis Bay Municipal Hall on Monday, 17 June 2019.

Namibia does not have a Sustainable Blue Economy policy.

Representatives from government organizations, ministries and agencies, the private sector, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals attended the meeting with the objective to create awareness on Blue Economy and solicit input from the participants on the envisioned policy.

The special advisor to the minister of fisheries and marine resources, Stephen Mbithi, presented policy ideas and called for guidance on what still needs to be included in the envisioned policy on behalf of the technical committee.

Some of the topics discussed included the legal frame work, objectives, application, overall policy statements, criteria as well as the regulatory and institutional framework required for a sustainable Blue Economy.

In a speech presented on his behalf by Anna Erastus the director of policy planning and economics in the ministry of fisheries and marine resources (MFMR), minister Bernard Esau invited all Namibians active within the marine economy to come forward and participate in the process.

This can be done by either attending the workshops or by making written submissions to the secretariat via [email protected]

Esau emphasised that Blue Economy is a people driven concept.

“Blue Economy seeks to ensure that we have environmental sustainability, social and economic inclusivity, and sustainable economic development approach to all our marine activities. It is anchored on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No 14 on Life Below Water.”

He pointed out that although Blue Economy is principally about the ocean, it includes inland waters such as lakes and rivers, because all water on the planet is ecologically interconnected and related, with the ocean as the main driver of this water ecosystem.

The principles of ocean ecosystem are therefore directly applicable to smaller water bodies such as rivers and lakes.

The minister highlighted that Blue Economy in Namibia includes fisheries, marine mining, marine and coastal tourism, maritime transport and coastal infrastructure such as ports, towns and coastal industries.

“Blue Economy differs from Ocean Economy in that it must include the three pillars of blue economy in order to be considered blue. These pillars include environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social inclusion. A marine business cannot be considered blue economy if it does not minimise its negative impacts on the environment, does not have an inclusive ownership structure, and does not maximise creation of jobs.”

The consultation process will be repeated on 20 June in Windhoek as is outlined in the policy development road map. A draft zero policy will then be circulated to stakeholders in order to verify whether or not the drafting committee has incorporated all comments given during the consultation meetings.

The final policy validation workshop is scheduled for 26 June in Windhoek. On this occasion a draft of the proposed Blue Economy Policy will be presented to the public.

The committee will then submit the draft policy to the Inter-Ministerial Blue Economy committee, for onward transmission to cabinet which is the sole policy making organ of government.

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