‘Champion’ countries of the Commonwealth Blue Charter are laying the groundwork for joint action and developing robust, innovative strategies to tackle the world’s most pressing ocean issues.
Kenya is one of 12 countries that has stepped forward to lead ‘action groups’ under the Blue Charter – a commitment made by the 53 Commonwealth member states to work together to solve ocean-related problems.
Championing the area of sustainable blue economy, officials from Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined a four-day programme in London, which concluded today.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We are determined for our collective engagement on the Commonwealth Blue Charter to focus on practical action, and for our response to be guided principally by those who experience most acutely the difficulty and trauma of ocean and climate-related challenges. They will be further supported by the acuity and knowledge of all the partners we can find, with the emphasis always on action.”
The head of delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, Salim M. Salim added: “The Commonwealth Blue Charter All Champions meeting has provided the time and space for Kenya to once again demonstrate its leadership role in championing the sustainable blue economy.
“The blue economy is the future, and as the Commonwealth, we must work together to find ways to take advantage of the ocean’s vast resources in a sustainable and responsible manner.”
Other action groups include: Aquaculture (led by Cyprus), Coral Reef Protection and Restoration (Australia, Belize, Mauritius), Mangrove Restoration (Sri Lanka), Ocean Acidification (New Zealand), Ocean Observations (Canada), Ocean and Climate Change (Fiji), Marine Plastic Pollution (United Kingdom, Vanuatu) and Marine Protected Areas (Seychelles).
From 18 to 21 June, delegates focused on strategies to rally members, mobilise resources for collaborative projects and boost public awareness.
A special networking day co-organised with Bloomberg Philanthropies homed in on intensifying partnerships, linking up countries with more than 50 potential partners from the private sector, academia, civil society, philanthropies and the international development community.
Finally, delegates were hosted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss priorities leading up to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda in June 2020.
Commonwealth Head of Oceans and Natural Resources, Nicholas Hardman-Mountford said: “The Commonwealth Blue Charter fills the gap between high level global commitments and concrete cooperation on the ground, where member countries can help, inspire, motivate, and learn from each other, in order to achieve our shared ocean goals. The All Champions meeting this week has set a roadmap to the future and we are excited to deliver on it.”