February 24, 2023 (KAMPALA, Uganda): Under the overall coordination of the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda and in close collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development; the Ministry of Tourism; and the Ministry of Works and Transport yesterday closed a three-day workshop during which the Uganda National Blue Economy 2023-27 was reviewed and endorsed.

The endorsement of the Strategy was effected yesterday during an inter-ministerial meeting. In his remarks at the official opening, Minister of State for Animal Industry, Lt Col (Rtd) Dr. Rwamirama Bright Kanyontore, stated: “The Blue Economy is certainly of strategic importance to the country especially that it provides opportunities for fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil & gas, energy & minerals, water transport & environment sustainability. The Blue Economy Strategy we are validating today proposes interventions for conservation and sustainability of fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic ecosystems. It combines a deeper analysis of the challenges and proposes strategic intervention areas for sustainably increasing fish production and productivity from fisheries and aquaculture. As a Ministry, we commit to implement the strategy for the benefit of the over 5 million people dependent on fish for a livelihood.”

On behalf of Executive Secretary of the regional organisation, the IGAD Head of Mission to Uganda, Ms Lucy Daxbacher noted: “IGAD in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment has been working for the last four months on developing of national BE strategy for Uganda. For the last two days, technical experts from Ministries concerned reviewed the draft national strategy and came up with a final version with major strategic intervention areas and detailed activities. The team of experts have developed a communiqué to be adopted by sectoral ministers under the coordination of the Ministry of Water and Environment.”

Immediately after the endorsement, the Minister of State for Water, Hon Aisha Sekindi, closed the ministerial meeting after the signature of the Strategy, and wrapped up the Uganda Blue Economy Strategy Technical Review and Ministerial Validation Meeting in these terms: “The Blue Economy Strategy provides nations with a unique opportunity to harness their natural resources in an inclusive, collaborative and coordinated manner to optimize the benefits while mitigating the risks amidst unforeseen challenges like climate change, global security, economic slowdown and natural disasters. This Strategy should not be viewed as a stand-alone document but should rather reinforce and complement existing government efforts and initiatives on sustainable development. I would like to implore the technical teams to come up with realistic time frames and action programmes to jump start implementation of the Strategy.”

Similar validation meetings were held in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, and the national Blue Economy Strategies were endorsed respectively. Sudan, South Sudan and Djibouti are following the path.

The IGAD Blue Economy Project is supported by Sweden.