Jamaica commits to fostering blue economic growth
Pearnel Charles Jr, state minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, affirmed Jamaica's commitment to the development of a road map to foster the growth of the 'blue economy' on Wednesday at the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Jamaica and several other countries explored measures and actions for promoting the sustainability of the oceans and aquatic resources, established networks for collaboration and shared best practices at the conference.
Charles Jr told the conference that Jamaica is committed to remaining active in the various regional and international fora on ocean and other aquatic-related matters and ensuring that the interests of small-island developing states are represented.
"This includes the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, spearheaded by Norway," Charles Jr said.
Sustainable use of ocean resources
The blue economy refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and improved livelihood and jobs and comprises elements such as renewable energy, fisheries, maritime transport, tourism, climate change, and waste management.
Next year, Jamaica celebrates its 25th anniversary as host country to the International Seabed Authority. In that regard, Charles said that Jamaica remains fully dedicated to supporting the authority in fulfilling its mandate.
"We also participate actively in the negotiations on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas Beyond national jurisdiction as part of our effort to secure our common heritage," he said.
"As a demonstration of our commitment, Jamaica has instituted a number of changes at the national level," added Charles Jr. These include the imposition of a ban on some plastics and polystyrene foam products as of January 2019.
"This represents a concrete step to reduce the negative impact of marine pollution on coastal communities, and key economic sectors such as tourism and fisheries," the minister stated.
Jamaica has also implemented new fisheries legislation that will establish the institutional framework to ensure its sustainable growth.
According to Charles Jr, the Government of Jamaica looks forward to forging and deepening partnerships with other governments, academia, the private sector, and civil society.