Monday, 08 January 2024 07:55

COUNTIES HOLD CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON KEY ISSUES AFFECTING THE BLUE ECONOMY SECTOR

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The Council of Governors (CoG) in collaboration with partners from 6th – 7th December 2023, convened a capacity building and sensitization workshop with the County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) in charge of Blue Economy, Fisheries and Natural Resource Management. The workshop sought to discuss key issues pertaining to the sector, including how to leverage on the untapped opportunities and ensure sustainable utilization of the blue economy resources.
The meeting, held at Gilian hotel, Machakos County, brought together various stakeholders among them representatives from the Ministry of Blue Economy, Mining and Maritime Affairs, representatives from relevant government agencies, and development partners involved in promotion of Blue economy sectors.
Delivering his address during the opening ceremony, Director Committees, CoG Kizito Wangalwa underscored the need to develop a Blue economy sectoral plan, including long term and short-term policies to govern the sector and ensure that Blue economy is well financed in the Counties.
“I urge each of the CECMs present her today to develop these plans in line with the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) to ensure coordination and synergy within the sector. The enormous potential that lies within this sector has the ability to transform our country’s economy and possibly even become one of the greatest contributors to our overall GDP. Together, we can make this a reality,” he said.
Ms. Rebecca Muritu, a representative from the State Department of Blue Economy and Fisheries, stated that the State Department’s main focus in Blue economy revolves around three areas; equity, environmental sustainability and economic development.
“The Blue economy sector is an economic frontier that is aimed at generating revenue for the Country. There are several prorammes being implemented such as Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development (KEMFSED) in 5 Coastal Counties and the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) in 15 Counties,” she noted.
The CECMs highlighted a myriad of challenges affecting the sector. These include: limited awareness on the economic value that Blue economy sectors portend; limited information on the existing policies, legislation and regulations that govern Blue economy and; lack of proper intergovernmental cooperation between the two levels of government.
Additionally, they emphasized the need for capacity building County Officials on the critical linkages between Natural Resource Management and Blue economy, the capacity gaps in the Sector, identification of areas of investment and resource mobilization, and strategies to foster collaboration among Counties.
“I would like to appreciate the Council and our partners for convening this timely meeting. This forum will help foster synergies among the two levels of Government in harnessing the opportunities the sector has to offer,” said the Blue economy CECMs Caucus Chairman Dr. Chula Mwagona.
Key resolutions arising from the forum include: Counties should sustainably harness the blue economy resources and mainstream blue economy across other sectors including NRM, tourism, energy, mining, agriculture among others; full optimization of the investments across the blue economy implemented by different organizations including the State Department for Blue Economy and Fisheries; Counties should be firm in protecting devolution to help inhibit claw back on fisheries as a devolved function; Counties to legislate for their functions as espoused in the constitution and as unbundled by the Gazette Notice dated 27th November 2023; CoG to develop a memorandum challenging the fisheries management act, 2016; all stakeholders to work in collaboration to set up the intergovernmental framework in Blue economy sector; CoG to develop guidelines for the establishment of committees at county level for the coordination of blue economy related programs and activities at county level and; co-creation of proposals and Concept notes on investments in blue Economy with the State Department of Blue Economy and Fisheries.
Additionally, it was agreed that there is need to: capacity build all actors along the Blue economy value chain; hold peer to peer learning amongst regional economic blocs on matters Blue economy; develop a position/guide on anchoring of blue economy in a department at the County level and; fast track the review of Beach Management Unit 2007 regulations.

 

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