The need for the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) members to transition to a Blue Economy was stressed at a seminar on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel, as they seek ways to continue the growth of the economies, build resilience of coastal communities and promote sustainable development of the oceans’ resources.
According to http://thecommonwealth.org, the ‘Blue Economy’ is an emerging concept, which encourages better stewardship of our ocean or ‘blue’ resources. It underpins the thinking behind the Commonwealth Blue Charter, highlighting in particular the close linkages between the ocean, climate change, and the well-being of the people of the Commonwealth. At its heart, it reaffirms the values of the Commonwealth, including equity and public participation in marine and coastal decision-making. It supports all of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG14 ‘life below water,’ and recognizes that this will require ambitious, coordinated actions to sustainably manage, protect and preserve our ocean now, for the sake of present and future generations.
The November 07 seminar, which was organized by the OECS, is the second in a series of seminars which will be held across member states. They are aimed at creating awareness on marine spatial planning and the Blue Economy in participating countries of the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP).
McClean Hobson, Director of Maritime Affairs, noted that the seminar is of significant importance to St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as other OECS Member States, and that there is still much to be done with respect to the transition.
“Although Caribbean people, including the people of the OECS, have benefited greatly since time immemorial from the ocean, much of the oceans’, resources which can be used to create sustainable economic opportunities, are yet to be accessed, enhanced and exploited,” he said.
He added that in order to change the approach in support of transitioning to a Blue Economy, OECS Heads, the OECS Commission, OECS Oceans Governance and Fisheries Unit, as well as the OECS Governance team, have been working assiduously to put the necessary frameworks in place with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat and other organizations. One such framework is the 2013 adoption of the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP) and Strategic Action Plan, a framework aimed at encouraging and promoting a common approach to ocean governance across the OECS.
The first seminar was held in Saint Lucia on November 05, 2018. Upcoming Seminars are as follows: Grenada, November 09; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, November 12; and Dominica on November 15.