Wed, 08 June 2022
Former President James Michel has addressed a Blue Economy conference today, organized by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs of Pakistan in collaboration with the World Bank and Blue Economy Solutions company, NLA International.
The meeting in Karachi, which coincides with World Oceans Day, focused on creating awareness amongst the stakeholders about the Blue Economy and the opportunities to realize its full benefits.
Aligning to this year’s World Oceans Day theme which calls for rejuvenation, President Michel commended all efforts being made towards achieving this through ocean protection. “Protection is a step in the right direction but the world also needs to take collaborative action to clean up and heal the oceans now” he said, explaining that “after years of using the oceans as the world’s dustbin, the pulse of our oceans’ heart is very poor. Pollution is widespread and continues unabated in many parts of the world. Organic pollutants, radio-active substances, heavy metals, pharmaceutical wastes along with marine litter in the form of plastics and micro plastics being the main culprits”. He regretted that most pollution are human-induced.
Mr. Michel shared Seychelles’ Blue Economy experience from the time he introduced it as a concept to debt restructuring, as well as the financial model, development of the Strategic framework and Roadmap to tangible results like 30% of EEZ demarcated as Marine Protected areas.
The Blue Economy in Pakistan is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and they are in the process of developing its own Roadmap to drive progress and sustainable development in the sector.
Michel told delegates that “a regenerative Blue Economy is achievable with political will and leadership, the right policies, education of our peoples and stakeholders buy-in. New and innovative funding models need to be explored and communities empowered to access the usually complex financial mechanisms”. Above all, he commented, “the oceans should be allowed to regenerate naturally through sustainable exploitation practices and large scale marine protected areas”.
“Considering the long coastal region of Pakistan, its geographical advantage on the Red Sea and important access routes to trade and oil supply from the Persian Gulf, I see immense potentials for the development of a successful regenerative blue economy” he concluded.
NOTE: Mr. Michel’s address was delivered virtually.