Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald : The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Republic of Seychelles co-hosted the Second Blue Economy Summit in partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations, to promote sustainable ocean development. The Summit focused on identifying actionable measures that support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate agreement, both adopted in 2015.
The opening ceremony included remarks by H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, H.E. James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles, and H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr, President of the Republic of Palau, H.E Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, among others.
“The history of my nation, which has for centuries sustained itself on the resources of the ocean, is in many ways a vivid illustration that it is indeed possible to protect marine resources while at the same time building a highly successful and profitable fishing industry,” said H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland.
“The global challenges are immense but so are the opportunities. These opportunities however must be grasped now before the natural capital of our planet is degraded beyond repair and the prospects of future generations forever curtailed. Today, we have the chance to make another contribution to the realisation of those opportunities by refining and raising the international profile of, and momentum behind, the mainstreaming of the Blue Economy Approach as a key tool for local, national, international and global environmental management,” said H.E. James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles.
The Summit included two roundtable discussions highlighting the importance of a sustainable ocean environment to alleviate global poverty, increase food security and reduce ecological scarcities. It concluded with the successful adoption of the Abu Dhabi 2016 Blue Economy Declaration.
“The heart of the Blue Economy is diversifying our ocean-based economies to guarantee local food security, ensuring that our people benefit fully from the development of our marine resources, and conserving and protecting our oceans so that future generations can enjoy these same benefits,” said H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr, President of the Republic of Palau.
“We are very pleased to once again co-host the Second Blue Economy Summit with the Republic of the Seychelles,” said H.E. Dr. Al Jaber. “Since the first Summit in 2014 held here in Abu Dhabi, significant strides have been made by the global community. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals reinforced the importance of the oceans and seas, as well as the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources.”
“As a coastal country, the protection and sustainable use of marine resources and coastal zones are central to our national policies. And just as oceans and seas transcend borders, so do our efforts. The UAE, under the guidance of its wise leadership, are supporting small island states by deploying renewable energy and improving their resilience to extreme weather events,” H.E. Al Jaber added.
H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to IRENA and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered welcoming remarks where he highlighted renewables as a promising solution to minimize climate change impacts on coastal countries and to ensure a sustainable future.
The Second Blue Economy Summit was held as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), one of the world’s largest annual gathering on sustainability and renewable energy. The UAE, in partnership with the Republic of the Seychelles, hosted the First Blue Economy Summit during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2014. The Blue Economy concept has become a key theme of global sustainable development, centered on socio-economic opportunities in small developing island States and coastal countries while preserving marine ecosystems.