Maritime Governance and the Blue Economy

“It calls for a multidimensional, integrated approach than exists in the region today”

In advancing solutions to the onshore root causes of maritime insecurity, the blue economy (also referred to as ocean economy) is suggested as a panacea since it has the capacity to create employment opportunities and facilitate economic growth. Safe, secure and well regulated maritime environment is a prerequisite and critical for blue economy development, indicating that maritime security is essential and will enable blue economy growth.

Ocean resources either fisheries, energy source, tourism or offshore oil explorations cannot be harnessed if there is a significant threat level; likewise over exploitation of ocean resources like illegal and unregulated fishing trigger the threats to maritime security as it impacts negatively on food security and economic livelihoods especially of coastal communities. Both concepts are interlinked, the blue economy highlights the opportunities of the seas, while maritime security stresses its challenges and risks, emphasizing the need for balance; which is possible with an effective maritime governance framework in place. Maritime governance is undeniable in ensuring good order at sea, and the most effective instrument to accommodate and resolve conflicts between the vast range of marine-related interests, values and activities as well as guarantee proper and sustainable balance in the use of ocean resources and the protection of marine ecosystem.

In this regard, while the roundtable will concentrate on distilling the several international conventions, codes of conduct and guidelines adopted under the auspices of UNCLOS, FAO and UNEP to create a peculiar maritime governance framework, it will equally focus on the need to improve the capacity to coordinate, implement, monitor and enforce them in a manner consistent with the needs and concerns of countries at different levels of economic development. It calls for a multi-dimensional, integrated approach than exists in the region today. Specific attention will also be given to examine the underlying causes of resources depletion including incentives that contribute for instance, to over fishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities and marine pollution amongst others, and suggest innovations and mechanisms that will help ensure that the exploitation of ocean resources like fishing is fully regulated, reported and monitored in addition to detection of other illegal activities.

Equally important to be addressed is the modalities of enforcement, the degree of responsiveness, specific technical assistance and partnership required for the development of the blue economy in the region.

Christina Katsouris

Will be leading the discussion on this theme at the conference