NAIROBI, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Sustainable utilization of marine resources including fish and mangrove forests has been prioritized by African governments in their quest to achieve food security and boost climate-resilience of coastal communities, ministers said Monday at the Africa Climate Summit, underway in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.
Salim Mvurya, Kenya's cabinet secretary for mining, blue economy, and maritime affairs, said that harnessing Africa's vast ocean-based resources is embedded in the continent's long-term agenda for green, inclusive, and resilient growth,
According to Mvurya, more than 200 million people in Africa derive their livelihood from marine ecosystems, while 90 percent of trade in the continent is facilitated through large water bodies, hence the need to protect them from human and climate-induced threats.
"A sustainable ocean economy can help us achieve food security, tackle the climate crisis, promote human mobility and critical sectors such as shipping and tourism," Mvurya remarked.
While acknowledging that 70 percent of African countries have an extensive coastline, Mvurya said that utilizing the resource in a sustainable manner will spur growth and tame the climate crisis.
Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, the minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation of Comoros, said African countries have endorsed global and regional pacts to combat threats to marine resources including piracy, overfishing, and pollution.
Dhoulkamal noted that improving ocean governance has been prioritized by African states in their bid to spur the growth of the blue economy and create new jobs for the continent's youthful population.
Flavien Joubert, the Seychelles minister for agriculture, climate change, and environment, said African states that are endowed with vast coastlines have enacted policies and legislation to promote sustainable management of marine resources in order to achieve long-term growth.
Joubert said that restoring marine life will be key to shielding coastal communities from climate emergencies like cyclones that have increased the loss of lives and property.
Antonio Pedro, the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said the continent should leverage marine resources to boost the growth of cottage industries alongside seamless maritime trade. ■