Remarks by Pa Lamin Beyai, UNDP Resident Representative at the Validation of Blue Economy Strategic Framework
September 15, 2022
Remarks by Pa Lamin Beyai, UNDP Resident Representative in Sierra Leone at the Validation of Blue Economy Strategic Framework, at Conference Hall, Sierra Bay Hotel, Aberdeen
Thursday 15 September 2022
Honourable Minister of Planning & Economic Development (MoPED);
Senior Government Officials;
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corp.;
Representative from UN Agencies;
Civil Society Organization;
Gentlemen and Ladies of the Press;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is a pleasure to be part of today’s meeting to validate the Blue Economy Strategic Framework, that is expected to develop an inclusive and sustainable Blue Economy that significantly contributes to the transformation of Sierra Leone. Globally, studies indicate that, water constitutes about 70% of our planet. However, over the years, we have naturally concentrated most of our economic activities on the remaining 29-30% of earth’s land resources that are above water. But with increase in population and rapid industrialization, and the concomitant dire need for food and development resources has grown proportionally, compelling us to increasingly look towards water-based resources.
Today, harnessing the potentials of the Blue Economy has emerged as a crucial development opportunity for optimum use of our oceanic and marine resources for sustainable development. This is clearly stated in the Sustainable Development Goal -14 which focuses on sustainable use of the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
It will be difficult to achieve sustainable economic development by 2030 if we continue to overlook the potentials of the oceans. Cognizant of this reality, it is a pleasure to see the government of Sierra Leone through the MOPED, drive the agenda in the development of the Blue Economy strategy for the country.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, While Sierra Leone is blessed with vast ocean resources, its productive oceanic potential remains largely under-utilized; and its Blue Economy potential remains untapped.
Given this status quo, over-reliant on rain-fed agriculture has left the country vulnerable to climate change and related shocks; thereby posing serious challenges to food security. Under such a situation, we must galvanize our collective efforts to change this status quo for Sierra Leone to become self-reliant. We may need to craft innovative ways of boosting our agricultural economy with the blue economy production systems. A well-taped Blue Economy is a driver of growth and development, particularly in terms of food security, transport sector, the extractives and non-renewable energy, and tourism.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, considering the foregoing, the UNDP through its Natural Resource Management (NRM) portfolio is supporting the Government of Sierra Leone develop and adopt steps to enhance the sustainable use of its ocean, and marine resources to attain inclusive development.
To achieve this, the UNDP collaborated with the MoPED, as the lead, and other relevant MDAs to develop a Strategic Framework for the Blue Economy for Sierra Leone for:
- A coordinated, whole of Government approach that establishes the necessary condition for successful implementation of the Blue Economy;
- A resilient and diversified economy that reduces economic vulnerability and reliance on a small number of traditional sectors;
- An increase in the proportion of GDP derived from marine sectors;
- A creation of high value jobs and local investment opportunities;
- Food security and well-being.
- Respect for the integrity and sanctity of habitats and ecosystem services, sustainable use, and climate resilience.
I implore our policymakers- Ministers, other government representatives, and development partners and NGOs present here and beyond to favorably consider the strategy’s recommendations.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be remiss in my role here if I failed to thank the MoPED Minister, the Blue Economy Committee, and the Consultants, especially Dr. Reynold Johnson, FBC and Dr. Jack Alban Hyde, South Africa, for relentless efforts in developing the Framework.
Once this Framework is adopted, UNDP will lead in the next steps to support the translation into an Implementation Plan.
Thank you for your kind attention.
"Given this status quo, over-reliant on rain-fed agriculture has left the country vulnerable to climate change and related shocks; thereby posing serious challenges to food security,"says Pa Lamin Beyai.