By Samuel Ouma
Kenya has announced its commitment to pursuing and establishing global partnerships in the marine and aquaculture sector to enhance capacity building to actualize the National Blue Economy Strategic Plan.
Speaking on Tuesday, June 28, when he delivered the National Statement at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko said the oceans agenda continues to remain a key pillar for states’ implementation for the realization of their national economies and materialization of the SDG 14 for delivery of the 2030 Agenda.
CS Tobiko said the Ocean Conference came at a critical “Building Back Better” moment as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. In efforts to ensure inclusive recovery, Kenya has employed a multi-stakeholder approach in promoting the eco-tourism industry to enhance global awareness of the critical role played by the tourism industry in the ocean economy and services.
The CS reiterated Kenya’s commitment to curbing threats in the conservation of oceans and has implemented multi-sectoral policies, legal, institutional, regulatory frameworks and implementation strategies, all aimed at addressing marine pollution.
The CS said Kenya commits to developing a National Action Plan on Sea-Based Marine Plastic litter, which will be tailored to address gaps, priorities and needs to more effectively prevent and reduce marine plastic litter from sea-based resources.
CS Tobiko added that National Environment Management Authority (Nema) Kenya has recently developed a National Marine Litter Management action plan to fulfil the recommendation of UNEA 1 and the Nairobi Convention Regional Marine Litter Management Action Plan, a clear demonstration of Kenyans’ commitment to curbing pollution.
CS Tobiko said the ban on the manufacture and use of polythene bags has been extended to protected areas, a key milestone in regenerating the oceans health that has hugely been affected by plastics.
“Kenya commits to ensuring the actualization of the establishment of the Legally Binding Instrument by 2024 for complete elimination of marine plastic litter,” CS Tobiko reiterated.
On revolutionary of Environment Management Coordination Act 99 (EMCA), CS Tobiko said, Kenya has submitted to Parliament landmark legislation on environmental governance, which contains recognition and protection of environmental rights defenders; protection and conservation of urban forests and green spaces; recognition of rights of nature; the offence of ecocide among others.