The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has stepped forward to co-champion the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on the sustainable blue economy, alongside the current champion country, Kenya.
As a new co-champion, Antigua and Barbuda will work with Kenya, as well as the other action group members, to cooperatively develop sustainable blue economy strategies across Commonwealth countries, covering more than a third of the world’s coastal waters.
The aim of a ‘blue’ economy is to support the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and improved livelihoods, while protecting ocean health.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “It is very encouraging that Antigua and Barbuda, a ‘large ocean state’, has stepped forward to co-champion the sustainable stewardship of our vast ‘blue wealth’. This welcome milestone demonstrates the commitment of Commonwealth countries to leveraging ocean resources wisely, sustainably and responsibly, while tackling unemployment, food insecurity and poverty.
“In this regard, the Commonwealth Blue Charter is one of the most effective platforms for countries to proactively collaborate across borders to tackle shared ocean challenges.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of the Blue Economy, Dean Jonas said: “We commend the Commonwealth on its development of the Blue Charter and in championing work on the sustainable blue economy.
“Antigua and Barbuda has long had a special relationship with the oceans. We are, however, keen to understand more about the potential of our oceans as an economic growth area as well as balance this with protecting and promoting the health of our oceans. Antigua and Barbuda is committed to being an active member of this action group working alongside Kenya and all states who are members of this group.”
Prof. Micheni Japhet Ntiba, Principal Secretary for the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy in Kenya added: “Kenya is very pleased to be able to welcome Antigua and Barbuda as a co-Champion. Kenya has long recognised the necessity to work together to build strong and resilient blue economies. We look forward to working with Antigua and Barbuda moving forward.”
The Commonwealth Blue Charter is a commitment made by leaders of all 54 member countries to work together in tackling ocean challenges and fulfilling global commitments on ocean sustainability. It was endorsed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, UK in April 2018.
Ten Action Groups, led by 14 countries, implement the Commonwealth Blue Charter, each focusing on a different ocean challenge, from marine pollution to climate change.
The Action Group on Sustainable Blue Economy encourages better stewardship of ocean resources through actions such as sharing strategies and best practices, promoting green and blue innovative technologies, and financial instruments such as blue bonds and blue carbon credits. The group also seeks to empower coastal communities economically, while building their resilience to future shocks.