The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC), the first forum in the world focused on the ecological use of marine resources, began today in Nairobi with more than 17,000 experts from 184 countries.
"The blue economy has huge economic prospects, but its use in a sustainable way is a challenge," said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during his opening speech at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC), a focal point of the forum. .
This massive event, held until next Wednesday, seeks a debate on the possibilities of the oceans, lakes and rivers "in order to improve the lives of people, especially women, youth and indigenous peoples", as detailed on the SBEC website.
During its first day, dozens of heads of state and government, as well as ministers, business leaders and scientists analyze the situation of the blue economy in each of their countries and express their commitment to its sustainable development.
In addition to the Kenyan leader, the heads of state of countries such as the Seychelles, the Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Uganda and Mozambique also attend the meeting today.
"We must commit ourselves to achieve an innovative and sustainable use of our oceans, lakes and rivers, but the action must be joint so that we can imagine a different future for future generations," continued Kenyatta.
The president of the Commission (secretariat) of the African Union (AU), Moussa Faki Mahamat, also showed the support of this organization to the blue economy and stressed the "importance" of the maritime resources for the continent.
"The UA intends to take more steps on the blue economy and, therefore, we have decided to turn this point into one of the flagship projects of our 2063 Agenda," Mahamat said in relation to the organization's strategic framework for Africa over the next 50 years. .
The European Commissioner for the Environment, Karmenu Vella, also transferred the support of the European Union (EU) to this sustainable economy and the development of Africa through "agreements between equals".
There is no single definition of the blue economy: while some experts point out that it is one that uses the oceans and their resources as a form of sustainable economic development, others maintain that it includes any economic activity developed in the maritime sector, whether sustainable or not. .
Organized jointly between Kenya, Canada and Japan, the conference has more than 300 events, including a symposium on research and science, a business forum, a private sector forum and a meeting of local mayors and governors.