African ministers have signed onto a communiqué that emphasizes the importance of building climate-smart ocean economies for sustaining the lives of millions of Africans.
The Mauritius Communiqué was agreed at the conclusion of a conference on ocean economies and climate change.
2 September 2016: African Ministers have adopted a communiqué that emphasizes the importance of building climate-smart ocean economies for sustaining the lives of millions of Africans. The Mauritius Communiqué was agreed at the conclusion of the conference ‘Towards COP 22: African Ministerial Conference on Ocean Economies and Climate Change.’
The conference aimed to, inter alia: emphasize the interconnectedness of the ocean economy and climate change agendas; identify opportunities to enhance the Africa’s ability to build climate-resilient ocean economies; elevate and sustain momentum on the need for climate action in building sustainable ocean economies ahead of the the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC in November 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco; develop and present an ‘African Ocean Economy and Climate Action Agenda,’ including an ‘African Oceans Finance Package,’ to benefit African coastal and insular countries; and build on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on climate change, the World Bank’s Africa Climate Business Plan, the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Climate Change Action Plan and the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.
During the conference, which was held in Balaclava, Mauritius, from 1-2 September 2016, participants discussed priority action areas for Africa, coastline integrity, fisheries and aquaculture, renewable energy, ports and shipping, tourism, marine spatial planning, low-carbon growth and long-term sustainability, natural capital accounting, the establishment of centers of excellence, the costs of pollution and degradation, capacity building and finance.
Addressing the conference, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO), underscored that fisheries and aquaculture are emerging as transformational forces for African economies, and that more must be done to mitigate the impacts of climate change and illegal fishing on oceans and coastal communities. He added that healthy and productive oceans are “drivers of prosperity” and critical for “combating rural poverty, ensuring food security, improving nutrition and achieving zero hunger.” He noted less focus on climate change impacts on the ocean than on impacts on land and the atmosphere, emphasizing that the international community’s goal should not only be about building a sustainable green economy, but a blue one as well. He indicated that at COP 22, FAO will highlight how oceans can help grow economies while addressing climate change.
In the communiqué, African ministers call on, inter alia: all relevant stakeholders to consider sustainability and transparency in investment programmes aimed at developing ocean economies, undertake environmental impact assessments and foster the resilience of investments to climate change impacts; African countries to transparently promote sustainable resource use practices and ratify the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing; African countries to implement their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), particularly actions regarding the resilience of oceans and coastal areas; international organizations to help African countries modify their NDCs to include oceans and coastal areas as priority targets; development partners to provide technical and financial assistance to support ocean economies and resilience of oceans and coastal areas to climate change; African countries to include climate-smart ocean economies in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Africa Dialogue, scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 2016, and in the Africa Adaptation Initiative; GCF accredited entities to prepare and submit proposals on ocean economies and climate change; the scientific community to coordinate with regional centers of excellence to help African scientific, research and educational institutions develop knowledge regarding future climate change impacts; leaders at COP22 to support climate-smart ocean economies; and Oceans Day organizers to convene a dialogue on African oceans and coasts.
The conference, which was organized by the WBG, in collaboration with the the Government of Mauritius, brought together representatives from African Governments, development partners, the private sector, scientists, civil society, academia, media and communities that depend on healthy oceans. [Main Conference Website] [World Bank Press Release, 29 August] [World Bank Conference Webpage] [UN Press Release] [World Bank Press Release on Communiqué] [FAO Press Release]