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Africa Day of Seas and Oceans: Liberia celebrates sustainable blue economy policy

All roads lead to Monrovia, the Liberian capital city, from Thursday, September 14 to Friday, September 15, 2017 when the Abidjan Convention of the United Nations Environment Programme, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Anyaa Vohiri (Executive Director, EPA), and Liberia Maritime Authority host stakeholders in the nation’s maritime domain to a two-day symposium.

Anyaa Vohiri, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia

The forum, which has “Encouraging Solutions to Marine Environmental Degradation and Sustainable Resource Management” as its theme, is in commemoration of the Africa Day of Seas and Oceans.

Co-host, Professor Patrizia Ziveri, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autónoma Barcelona, will be among several panel members to celebrate the Africa Day of Seas and Oceans 2017 in Liberia, which observes it independence day on Wednesday, July 26.

The marine environment in Liberia is said to be under anthropogenic pressure caused by pollution; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; climate change; weak institutions for management; and habitat degradation.

Despite opportunities from various forms of economic activities such as tourism, fishing and transportation, coastal poverty has continued to be a major issue in the country.

Just like in most part of Africa, the marine and coastal ecosystems of Liberia are facing severe degradation and are sometimes used as dumpsites when waste waters are dumped into the ocean with no previous treatment or abatement measures.

But there has been a turn around in the West African nation and Liberia feels that it has more to celebrate than other countries on the continent, thanks to new government policy to improve sustainable fishing practices and reducing illegal fishing, as well as exploit the potential for blue-economy growth.

The Abidjan Convention, Environmental Protection Agency, Liberia Maritime Authority and cooperatives are calling for public support in observing Africa Day of Seas and Oceans.

On July 25, 2014, the World Maritime University (WMU) and its African and Caribbean Students Association (ACSA) celebrated for the first time Africa Day of Seas and Oceans.

The celebration of Africa Day of Seas and Oceans is one of the recommendations of the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS). The 2050 AIM Strategy provides a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of Seas and Oceans of Africa.

Scientists say protecting the ocean is everyone business – and so the responsibility of every African.

“It is the biggest ecosystem containing 96% of the living space on Earth and covering 71% of the Earth surface. Its marine resources face the danger of global warming, ocean acidification, de-oxygenation, marine plastic pollution and more,” says the Abidjan Convention.

Africa Day of Seas and Oceans has been recognised by the African Union (AU) and Head of States to celebrate continentally (Africa) every year on July 25 with the aim of maintaining the balance of the water resources and human lives by promoting sustainability and human capital development to improve standards of living.

On July 25, 2015, Africa celebrated the African Day of Seas and Oceans under the theme, “Harnessing the Blue Economy in Achieving the African Union Agenda 2063”, and launched the 2015-2025 Decade of African Seas and Oceans. The events on 25 July took place as the 22nd Ordinary Session of Heads of States and Governments concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at African Union (AU) headquarters.

In developing the AIM Strategy, the AU recognised that Africa’s maritime domain has vast potential for wealth creation and that AU Member States have common maritime challenges, opportunities and significant responsibilities for generating the desirable political will for implementing the strategy.

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