Promoting the Blue Economy in the Indian Ocean

Governance and Human Rights

The countries of the south-west Indian Ocean all share the same ocean and all depend on its resources: regional cooperation in the Blue Economy is therefore essential. The economic value of ocean activities in the Western Indian Ocean amounts to 20.8 billion dollars (2017 estimate). It is therefore a strategic priority for the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and its French presidency 2021-2022 to strengthen synergies in this area.

The Blue Economy is the set of economic activities connected to oceans, seas and coasts that respect human rights and the environment. This model relies on traditional activities, such as sustainable fisheries management, sustainable aquaculture, green maritime transport, harnours, sustainable tourism, but also emerging fields such as renewable energies, marine ecosystem services, desalination, etc.The preservation of the marine and coastal environment and the protection of human rights is intrinsic to the concept of Blue Economy. It reconciles economic profitability and protection of the marine and coastal environment to be sustainable and to benefit the greatest number of people.

The Indian Ocean Blue Year is a project funded through the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects, Civil Societies, Francophonie and Human Development of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. It is implemented by French embassies in close collaboration with their local partners and the IOC. The project promotes sustainable and responsible management of coastal and oceanic economic activities as well as the conservation of biodiversity and marine and coastal areas, through actions carried out throughout the year in 9 countries : Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Reunion Island.

In South Africa, Oceans and the Blue Economy are very important, and are amongst France’s cooperation priorities, with programmes in science, innovation, civil society and culture. Under the Blue Year of the Indian Ocean project, the Embassy of France supports two South African organisations in 2021:

Ocean Hub Africa Logo

The 2021 Acceleration programme of Ocean Hub Africa, a non-profit ocean-impact catalyst initiative based in Cape Town, aims at incubating 6 start-ups committed to the protection of the oceans in 2021 for 6 months. Selected entrepreneurs are African-based ocean-impact for-profit innovative companies, with particular attention given to onboarding businesses operating in the Indian Ocean region.

 

Giving Them Wings Foundation Logo

The Zero Waste Sustainability Project implemented by Giving Them Wings, a civil society organisation based in Port Elizabeth, aims to play a role in reducing marine pollution generated by fishing industries and to sensitize fishermen as well as youth about marine litter and the impact of ghost gear at sea. Activities include the elaboration of a recycling plan for general waste at the port of Port Elizabeth, recycling of fishing gear and initiatives around marine education and marine litter awareness with a large focus on schools.

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