Accra, Dr Felix Addo-Yobo, Deputy Director, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advisory Unit at the Office of the President, has underscored the fact that Ghanaians have an opportunity and the responsibility to build a sustainable ocean economy.

The ocean economy is?the sum of the economic activities of ocean-based industries, together with the assets, goods and services provided by marine ecosystems.

He said a sustainable and resilient ocean economy was important for achieving the policy objectives set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on Sustainable Ocean Plan for Ghana, Dr Addo-Yobo said the SDGs Advisory Unit of the Officer of the President was inviting stakeholders, in the spirit of collaboration, to partner them towards achieving this bold transformation agenda, which was also key for the realisation of the SDGs.

The meeting, which was organised by the SDGs Advisory Unit of the Officer of the President, sought to discuss findings from Ghana’s Ocean Governance Study (OGS).

It also sought to initiate discussion on preparing a Sustainable Ocean Plan (SOP) for Ghana by 2025.

“This nationally owned SOP will then guide how we sustainably manage 100 per cent of the ocean area under their national jurisdiction,” Dr Addo-Yobo said.

He noted that sometime in July last year, stakeholders started the process of preparing Ghana’s OGS, which was a joint initiative between the government of Ghana and the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALOS).

This initiative is being supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

Dr Addo-Yobo recalled that the President was a member of the High-Level Panel, which comprised 16 heads of state with United States and France joining in November 2021 and February 2022 respectively.

He said the overarching objective of the Ocean Panel was to facilitate a more resilient future for people and planet, by building momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy, where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go together.

“In line with this, the Panel has since its establishment in 2018, worked with governments, businesses, financial institutions, the science community and civil society organisations to champion bold, yet pragmatic solutions, for transitioning to a sustainable ocean economy,” he stated.

“Many member countries of the Ocean Panel, including Ghana have committed to sustainably manage 100 per cent of the ocean under our national jurisdiction. We will be looking to partner with all of you to make this happen.”

He said the goals of the OGS were to among others provide a high-level overview of the legal and institutional framework for oceans and assist in the identifying and prioritizing the capacity gaps in the development and implementation of frameworks for oceans.

He said the OGS was recognised as an important first step towards sustainably managing the ocean under national jurisdiction.

He urged stakeholders to at the end of the meeting to affirm out commitment to actively support the preparation of a Sustainable Ocean Plan for Ghana.

On his part, Professor Kwasi Appeaning Addo, the Director of the Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies of the University of Ghana, who said Ghana stands to gain a lot from the ocean economy if it was sustainably managed; also cited Norway and Japan as nations which had sustainably managed their ocean economies for the benefits of their people.

Mr Godwin Djokoto, an Expert in Ocean Governance/Lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, who gave an update on “Ghana’s Ocean Governance Study”, said Ghana’s fisheries and aquaculture resources were serious issues to be dealt with in terms of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated?(IUU) fishing, (which depletes?fish?stocks and destroys marine habitats).

He said Ghana’s Ocean Governance was multisectoral, which involves several institutions and stakeholders with different frameworks that guide their operations; adding that there was the need for effective collaboration to make saw that the stakeholders were singing from the same page.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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