African Union to help protect Kenya's coast, lakes and rivers

President William Ruto attending and addressing the Opening Ceremony of the Ordinary Session of The African Union.

The African Union (AU) is helping Kenya and two other countries develop and enhance national masterplans and regulatory frameworks to protect coasts, rivers, and lakes.

The AU's Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) yesterday told The Saturday Standard that the frameworks will ensure sustainable marine tourism and mining activities.

The agency is helping Kenya, Nigeria and Gabon strengthen regulatory frameworks towards aquatic biodiversity conservation and ecosystems.

"Harnessing the potential of marine and aquatic natural capital is the goal of the blue economy, a concept that encompasses the development of such resources on the basis of principles of environmental sustainability, social access and justice, and transparent governance," AU-IBAR told The Standard yesterday.

The goal of this idea, AU-IBAR added, is to protect the health of the world's seas, coasts, rivers, and lakes while also fostering economic development and preserving or enhancing people's livelihoods.

"There couldn't be a better moment for this help to arrive."

The support is being offered by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through the Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity Programme in the Africa Blue Economy Project.

A kick-off workshop was held in Nairobi between Wednesday and yesterday. During the first session of technical seminars there was a presentation of the research report on CMT & Mining operations and a discussion of key national instruments and regulatory frameworks on coastal, marine tourist, gas and oil exploration, and mining activities.

The support also includes funding for three national consultative sessions with key stakeholders to produce national masterplans, as well as funding for the formation or strengthening of appropriate regulatory frameworks. They had working group brainstorming sessions to determine the master plans' key areas - coastal and marine tourisms; oil and gas exploration and minerals.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mining, Fisheries, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya said the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development should be underpinned in national and regional development priorities in line with SDG 14 and the AU African Blue Economy Strategy.

"Hence, this meeting is a positive step towards protecting the most vulnerable aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems for our sustainable development objectives."

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