UK side event at Blue Economy conference examines the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme

Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi
The panel from the side event at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi. Photo: Twitter/KVS1979

The UK High Commission team hosted a discussion looking at ways in which the British government’s Commonwealth Marine Economics (CME) Programme is helping 17 Small Island Development States (SIDS) to identify the potential of, and develop, their marine economies in a sustainable, resilient, and integrated way.

Stuart Rogers from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), and Ian Davies from the UK Hydrographic Office were joined by Minister Dean Jonas from Antigua and Barbuda for the side event during the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi which was chaired by Professor Kevin Horsburgh from the National Oceanography Centre.

Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi
The side event at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference examined the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme. Photo: Twitter/UKinKenya

UK Commonwealth Envoy Philip Parham used the event to highlight the British commitments made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting earlier in the year which included the Blue Charter, Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme.

Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi
UK Commonwealth Envoy Philip Parham speaking at the side event during the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi. Photo: Twitter/KVS1979

Data poor fisheries management approaches and solutions applied through the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme in Dominica, Guyana and Jamaica were discussed by Stuart Rogers, who also covered how CEFAS has helped Caribbean fisheries departments address the sustainability of their fisheries, maximising economic growth, job creation and long term sustainability in his presentation.

Another presentation, this time from Ian Davies, explained why hydrographic data collection has been a key part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme. He wemnt on to tell the side event how hydrographic data is not only key for safe shipping, but also science applications.

Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi
The audience were fully involved during the presentations. Photo: Twitter/UKinKenya

Commonwealth Marine Economics (CME) Programme

Announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, the CME programme was subsequently launched in 2016.

The programme promotes growth, innovation, jobs and investment, whilst safeguarding healthy seas and ecosystems. In partnership with the SIDS, it will develop and implement national Maritime Economy Plans to ensure the programme leaves a lasting legacy.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April 2018, 53 countries agreed a landmark Commonwealth Blue Charter which sets out how member states will lead international efforts to sustainably develop and protect our ocean. The CME Programme is an integral part of the UK’s effort to protect the health of the world’s oceans and promote the growth of blue economies.

The programme supports CME SIDS by building the capacity of the islands to manage their marine resources and develop their national maritime economies. It is also helping to address climate change, including the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) and the Paris Climate Change Accord.

The CME Programme ensures that activities and initiatives across nations and regions are harmonised to avoid overlaps, and recognise synergies. This aligns with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) work to bring together all of the government’s international oceans work under a single strategy as announced by the Foreign Secretary in June 2018.

From April 2018, the CME Programme forms part of the Cross-Government 18-20 Commonwealth Fund.

The FCO is leading this programme, which showcases UK world leading expertise in marine science through delivery partners at United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). The programme is also working with a team of technical experts who will be working in partnership with SIDS governments to develop national Maritime Economy Plans.

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