We, Ministers, Representatives of States, International and Regional Organizations, and In the presence of the representative of the European Commission, meeting in Agadir on February 19, 2019 at the invitation of the Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Waters and forests of the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr Aziz AKHANNOUCH, in the framework of the high-level conference “The Blue Belt, a platform for action for the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa”;
Recalling the universal principles contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which establishes the legal framework within which activities must be conducted in oceans and seas;
Reaffirming the commitment to the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 13 (fight against climate change) and SDG 14 (conserving and sustainably exploiting oceans and seas for sustainable development);
Recalling the first Africa Summit of Action, held in Marrakesh in November 2016 as aside event of COP 22, dedicated to the discussion of the challenges related to the fight against climate change and practical measures to put in place to deal with it;
Welcoming the commitments made by the participating countries to the “Our Ocean” Conference in Bali in October 2018, including those related to the establishment of marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries management, the promotion of the blue economy and the fight against climate change;
Recalling the high-level conference on the sustainable blue economy, held in Nairobi in November 2018, highlighting the role of national and local governments, the private sector, the civil society and national and international financial institutions in investing in the blue economy and the definition of sustainable means of its exploitation;
Aware of the strategic role of the ocean economy and aquaculture in Africa in terms of food, economic growth, employment and innovations;
Convinced that the ocean is fundamental to the preservation of life and underlining the importance of ocean ecosystems in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change;
Recognizing the challenge posed by climate change, its threats to the balance of coastal and marine ecosystems and its impacts on fisheries and aquaculture, sources of employment and food security for several million people in Africa;
Underlining the need to work for the promotion of the blue economy, including the preservation of marine resources and ecosystems as an integrated approach to the sustainable development of the oceans;
Considering the need to generate new opportunities for economic development in a planned and harmonious way, in an inclusive approach integrating economic and social services from the sea and the oceans;
Stressing out the need to strengthen cooperation and convergence of initiatives for the development of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture;
Conscious that the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture could be a solution to the future challenges of global food and nutrition security and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including those to eradicate hunger and poverty;
The “Blue Belt” initiative launched by the Kingdom of Morocco during the COP22 held in Marrakech in November 2016, which proposes the establishment of a collaborative platform for the exchange of knowledge and innovations to promote the emergence of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture projects in the context of climate change.
We call to
1. Establish appropriate institutional and financial mechanisms enabling the completion and the animation of the collaborative platform in the framework of partnerships facilitating technological and social innovation, the exchange of good practices and social entrepreneurship increasing, then, socio-economic and environmental benefits such as job creation, training and youth employment, food security, poverty eradication, preservation of marine ecosystems and adaptation to climate change;
2. Invest in the blue economy, especially sustainable, innovative and protective fisheries and aquaculture, and increase associated funding by including innovative financing mechanisms and facilitating access to international funding, including Climate funds (Adaptation Fund and Green Fund);
3. Promote the development of research and innovation to foster the emergence of a blue economy based on sustainable scientific knowledge;
4. Create a “community partners” allowing the achievement and the animation of the collaborative platform of the Blue Belt initiative.
The participants express their sincere gratitude to his majesty the King Mohammed VI, for his kindness and warm welcome to this beautiful city of Agadir, leader of the blue economy, and the means to host this excellent high level event.