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Investment in blue economy low – Klazen

NAMIBIA acknowledges that investment in ocean health, ocean wealth and ocean equity is significantly low, although the country spent close to US$7,3 million (N$116 million) on marine research during the 2019/20 financial year.

This was said by the minister of fisheries and marine resources, Derek Klazen, during a high-level panel for a sustainable ocean economy on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

Klazen said Namibia is committed to the 100% approach to ocean management.

He was speaking at a question and answer session, co-chaired by the prime ministers of Canada and Norway, on Wednesday.

“We have identified and prioritised three critical areas, namely, ocean health, ocean wealth and ocean equity and their corresponding themes for implementation, although investment in these areas remains significantly low in Namibia and also in other countries in the rest of the world,” he said.

Klazen said Namibia, therefore feels that the ocean panel needs to be marketing the investments in ocean-based solutions at international fora such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the Dubai Summit, etc.

He said the ocean panel can encourage member states to pass laws that are investor friendly, including such aspects as capital repatriation, reduction/reprieving/rebating of taxes, protection against industrial action, and streamlining the ease of doing business processes.

“The ocean panel needs to coordinate, arrange, package, advertise and administer competitive applications/bids for grant funding or very beneficial loans targeted at ocean initiatives,” he said.

Klazen said Namibia and neighbouring countries face the real challenge of funding, while the limited funding available is rarely invested in ocean projects.

“These grants/bids should be targeted at specific initiatives, solving funding problems but also ensuring that the funds are spent on ocean resources,” said Klazen.

Specific areas Namibia would be interested in are ocean-based renewable energies, such as green hydrogen, tidal and wind energy, and transport, he said.

Namibia already invests heavily in conducting scientific research surveys on living marine organisms and marine environment, having spent close to US$7,3 million (N$116 million) during the 2019/2020 financial year.

Klazen said a comprehensive blue economy policy is being finalised, to create synergies and coordinate all blue economy activities, in order to sustainably maximise their economic benefits for all Namibians, based on the ecosystem approach.

The high-level panel for a sustainable ocean economy is a global initiative led by serving heads of state and government from around the world who are building momentum for a sustainable ocean economy, informed by leading global experts and practitioners.

Klazen was representing president Hage Geingob.

Email: [email protected]

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