If exploited sustainably, our seas and oceans have a huge potential to foster social and economic growth and prosperity. If we succeed, we will benefit from healthy oceans and seas that create attractive and sustainable future for the young people.
The Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence and Minister for Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth made this statement at the opening of the Indian Ocean Conference on Marine Spatial Planning Towards Sustainable Use of the Indian Ocean this morning at Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Balaclava. The High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa and the Representative of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Chair, Her Royal Highness Princess Zenani Dlamini, and the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo along with several personalities were present on the occasion.
Mr Jugnauth underscored the importance of coming up with an MSP for since the past few years there has been a sharp increase in economic activities throughout the maritime zones which has led to an increase in the demand for marine space.
Government is committed to make the ocean economy an important industrial pillar to sustain economic diversity, job creation and wealth generation, he stated, adding that to this end, it is leveraging on one of the largest assets of the country, which is the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Minister Mentor also observed that the sensitive and complex nature of the marine environment and the detrimental effects of uncontrollable and improperly managed activities should be taken into consideration. He underlined that it is crucial for economic activities be balanced to promote a healthy and sustainable ocean.
On that note, he underpinned the importance of the MSP as an urgent step in the quest to achieve this balance. MSP has become even more pressing as we are facing multiple demands for marine space for emerging activities such as marine renewable energy, seawater air conditioning, oil, gas and mineral exploration and aquaculture amongst others, he said.
Hence, added Mr Jugnauth, in view of moving forward the ocean economy agenda coherently and responsibly, the implementation of effective ocean management approaches are of great importance. He pointed out that Government is currently pursuing in the context of development the ocean economy, namely the Multiclient Seismic Survey and the Deep Ocean Water Application project.
For her part, Her Royal Highness Princess Dlamini underlined that strengthening resilience and taking actions in order to maintain healthy and productive oceans and achieve inclusive economic growth in the Indian Ocean are imperative. She advocated for a sustainable use of the ocean that will benefit the country and its people while protecting the ocean for generations to come.
The Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) is the comprehensive knowledge process that can formulate coordinated policies for the sustainable utilisation of marine resources and contribute to the effective management of marine activities, and marine and coastal resources by creating a framework for efficient, sustainable and evidence-based decision-making.
It is in line with the implementation of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goal 14 which concerns 'life below water' and aims at conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.