• During the launch, the President said the County Governments have also realised the importance of the blue economy to regional economies.
• The Head of State further said Kenya is proactively implementing policies aimed at tackling the challenge of ocean pollution especially from plastic waste.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya has prioritized the sustainable utilization of its ocean and blue economy resources as an enabler of the Vision 2030 economic blueprint.
"It is clear that the ocean economy is a smart investment that can deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits to our people," the president said.
"As such, Kenya is keen to fully realize the potential of its 142,400 square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone. However, as we do so, we will steadfastly protect our marine resources even as we pursue its enhanced development and productivity."
Uhuru spoke on Thursday at State House when he presided over the national launch of the New Ocean Action Agenda which is an offshoot of a similar global plan by the fourteen-nation High-Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy.
He is a member of the panel whose objective is to promote sustainable utilization of ocean resources by striking a balance between their economic exploitation and conservation requirements.
During the launch, the President said the County Governments have also realised the importance of the blue economy to regional economies.
"In addition, our coastal economic bloc, Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani, comprising six counties along the coastal region - Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita Taveta has identified the ocean and blue economy as one of three value chains to prioritize in their county development plans,"Uhuru said.
"The Lake Region Economic Bloc, which represents the socio-economic aspirations of fourteen counties within the Lake Victoria Basin that constitutes 30 per cent of Kenya’s population, has similarly prioritized the blue economy as a key economic pillar."
He listed the ongoing reconstruction of the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex at a cost of Sh318 million, training of 1,000 fishermen, set up of Bandari Maritime Academy as well as the launch of the Kenya Coast Guard Service as some of the efforts being made to promote sustainable utilization of Kenya's ocean resources.
The Head of State further said Kenya is proactively implementing policies aimed at tackling the challenge of ocean pollution especially from plastic waste.
"In 2017, Kenya banned the use of polythene carrier bags. In addition, we have now implemented a ban on single use plastics in all protected areas including beaches, national parks, conservation parks, and forests," the President said, adding that the Government is working with local communities to conserve coastal ecosystems," he said.
"For example, through the support of the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), the Mikoko Pamoja Project has recently been able to restore 10 hectares of mangrove forests."
He voiced the country's commitment to its international agreements on sustainable utilization of ocean resources saying Kenya will continue leveraging on global institutions based in the country such as UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Sub-Commission for Africa and Adjacent Island States, and the Global Sea Level Observation System (GLOSS) to sharpen Kenya's ocean conservation efforts.
"As a member of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, I commit myself and my Government to achieving 100% sustainable ocean management of areas within our national jurisdiction, guided by Sustainable Ocean Plans, by 2025," Uhuru said.