Date: February 10, 2021
Venue: SLAMA Offices, Government Wharf
Honorable Minister of Fishery and Marine Resources
The Executive Director and staff of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA)
Relevant government representatives and stakeholders of Sierra Leone’s fishery and maritime sector
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
I bring you compliments from the UNDP Country Office.
I am honored to witness this handing over ceremony of three rehabilitated boats as part of the UNDP’s collaborative effort with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLAMA), to strengthen maritime security and governance in the country. In that regard, the UNDP applauds the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone in trying to improve on the management of its fishery and marine resources, as it strives to diversify its economy. Grasping this concept of the blue economy is a giant step in the direction given the country’s enormous fishery and maritime potentials.
However, this is by no means an easy task. With its vast coastline of about 406 Km Sierra Leone, remains one of the countries in the Gulf of Guinea with the least capacity to address maritime security and governance challenges. The factors undermining the country’s capacity include weak legal and regulatory environment, lack of human, technological, and infrastructural wherewithal for monitoring and surveillance, and the lack of strong platforms and mechanisms for inter-agency and inter-state cooperation on maritime security.
It is also evident that Sierra Leone’s territorial waters is plagued by a wide array of threats including piracy; armed robbery at sea; illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; trafficking in humans, goods and services; dumping and other environmental crimes. These challenges need to be urgently addressed to improve Sierra Leone’s potential to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Given the above, and in line with Policy Custer 2 of Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023, the UNDP Country Office is supporting activities that seek to capacitate the SLMA for effective monitoring of the Sierra Leone waters. These include developing the country’s maritime legislative framework and investing in joint efforts to tackle maritime criminality and illicit flow of goods and services. These three rehabilitated boats that we are handing over to SLAMA today are part of the UNDP’s support to the government of Sierra Leone effort to address these challenges. I therefore encourage you take good care of the boats and utilize them for the intended purpose.
It is hoped that the effective management of the country’s territorial waters will contribute to the development of the Sierra Leones blue economy which remains largely untapped. On that note, let me take this opportunity to assure you of the UNDP’s commitment to support the Government of Sierra Leone in addressing policy and structural bottlenecks to improve the fishery and maritime sector.
UNDP will continue to support policy and programming that seeks to improve the fishery and maritime sector in Sierra Leone. This year we shall be supporting the SLMA to develop the National Strategic Framework for the blue economy.
UNDP Sierra Leone looks forward to a continued good working relationship with the Government of Sierra Leone, and relevant stakeholders in the fisher and maritime sector.
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your kind attention.