Ghana's commitment to the protection and sustainable management of its oceans takes center stage as the nation prepares to host the inaugural National Blue Economy Summit. The summit, scheduled for May 31st and June 1st, aims to raise awareness about the critical challenges facing our oceans while highlighting the immense opportunities for Ghana's transformation.
Dr. Eugene Owusu, Ghana's Special Advisor to the President on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), spoke passionately about the urgent need for action to save the world's oceans. Addressing attendees at the Media Launch of the National Blue Economy Summit on Wednesday May 17, 2023, Dr. Owusu referred to the current state of the oceans as a "time bomb" that requires immediate attention.
The decline in ocean health he said, caused by overexploitation, overfishing, pollution, climate change, and other pressures, poses an existential threat to both the ocean and humanity as a whole stressing the crucial role of the ocean in providing food security, prosperity, and national security. Protecting and restoring the health of the ocean is not just a moral imperative but an absolute necessity, he emphasized.
"The evidence is clear. Ocean health and productivity are declining at an alarming rate, posing an existential threat to the ocean and humanity as a whole. That is why protecting and restoring the health of our ocean is not only a moral imperative; it is an absolute necessity. The ocean is the future when it comes to our food security, our prosperity, and our national security. We cannot achieve the sustainable and prosperous future we all crave for, and which we need, without a healthy ocean," he said.
With billions of people having personal connections to the ocean, Dr. Owusu highlighted its essential role in daily life, including providing half of the Earth's oxygen and contributing over $1.5 trillion annually to the global economy. Recognizing the significance of the ocean's blue economy, he emphasized the need for a new ocean agenda that integrates sustainable development, economic growth, and job creation with the long-term health and resilience of our oceans and coastal ecosystems.
The National Blue Economy Summit is expected to be a crucial step toward achieving these objectives. The summit will serve as a platform for knowledge-sharing, forging partnerships, and catalyzing action and investment in a more sustainable and resilient blue economy. Dr. Owusu expressed hope that the summit would inspire bold and transformative steps, demonstrating Ghana's commitment to the sustainable management of its oceans and coastal resources.
During the Media Launch, several key figures echoed the urgency and importance of protecting our oceans. Deputy Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Kyrre Holm, praised the Summit as a valuable complement to the existing cooperation between Ghana and Norway in marine resource management. Dr. Angela Lusigi, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), stressed the need for collective action, emphasizing that safeguarding the oceans requires the active involvement of all sectors of society.