Moroni — Globally, ocean wealth is valued at $ 24 trillion. If oceans were a country, they would constitute the seventh largest economy in the world. These resources of the blue economy could be a driver for socio-economic transformation and sustainable growth.
During the 21st session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) held this week in Moroni, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) brought together experts on the blue economy to identify how to leverage its untapped potential. The subsequent discussions focused on Comoros, a country with many blue economy assets in fisheries, maritime transport and tourism.
Many challenges persist. Knowledge about the scale of the resources is still insufficient: living species assessments, geomorphological analysis and cartography of deep seas floors are almost non-existent.
To fill these gaps, the future Regional Centre of Excellence for the Indian Ocean, together with the Atlas on the Blue Economy by the African Mineral Development Centre (AMDC) of ECA, will help member states and other stakeholders obtain marine geo-scientific information, and stimulate research, education and high-level training to foster appropriate decision-making. The AMDC also provides support to member states in capacity building for deep-sea mining and exploration.
Another constraint on the development of the blue economy is the lack of appropriate regulatory and legal frameworks. In this regard, ECA has successfully launched a Blue Economy Policy Handbook that aims to help Member States develop their own blue economy policies. Ms. Daya Bragante, Blue Economy Specialist at ECA in East Africa, argued that this guide will strengthen the political decision-making process to better leverage the opportunities offered by the blue economy.
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