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Addressing fragmented governance of the ocean economy

Addressing fragmented governance of the ocean economy

Reconciling opportunities with sustainability

SOUTH AFRICA: Next week’s Ocean Innovation Africa Summit will delve into some of the critical gaps in ocean governance and discuss reconciling blue economy opportunities with sustainable priorities.

Loreley Picourt, Executive Director of the Ocean & Climate Platform, will also be among the international experts travelling to South Africa for the event and she calls for a realistic, respectful and mindful approach to managing the ocean.  

“While also taking into account cultural, indigenous and local knowledge and practices, we have an opportunity to reinvent how we govern, to be inclusive, and mindful of how we share the benefits,” she says.

She points to the new BBNJ/’High Seas Treaty’ signed by representatives from over 80 countries, which aims to cover critical gaps in ocean governance and protect the biodiversity of the High Seas and deep sea, as a sign of progress.

“This is a ground-breaking treaty – it will address issues of access and equity. It will define who has access to the wildest place on earth and how the benefits, new knowledge and resources are equitably shared,” she says.

Picourt notes that governance is a complex field: “We know it is critical to protect and restore nature, but we also need to develop sustainable green and grey infrastructure adapted to withstand extreme weather events. Thus, we need to better understand how the threat of sea level rise will be integrated into different strategies. The world is at risk of sea level rise, erosion, floods, drought and other coastal hazards. We must work on long-term strategies to anticipate the impacts, rather than just responding to them.”  

Picourt adds: “I’m coming to South Africa to be inspired by stakeholders – seeing young and innovative minds coming together to find opportunities in existing challenges.”

“We have an opportunity to acknowledge that the ocean connects us all, instead of dividing us. It is not just ecosystems –  it’s the blue lung of the planet. In terms of geopolitics, it also brings us together,” she says.

The Ocean Innovation Africa Summit 2024 will bring together stakeholders across the blue economy value chain for three days of talks, networking and innovation showcases. Taking place from 20 – 22 February at the Avenue Conference and Events Centre at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, the summit will convene innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, industry-leaders, and policy-makers from Africa and abroad.

The topics under discussion will include small scale fisheries, aquaculture, ecosystem restoration and management, plastics innovation, investment, carbon and biodiversity metrics and blue economy opportunities.

A startup pitch competition will showcase innovation in the blue economy space, and participants will have an opportunity to visit key blue economy sites and facilities in Cape Town and learn about the latest innovations and technologies in the field. Premium pass holders can also enjoy highlights such as a sunset cruise and winelands bus tour.

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