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Building partnerships to advance the blue economy

As part of Stockholm+50, SEI was a co-organizer of a side event focusing on building partnerships to promote a sustainable blue economy, sports and environment. The event was organized in partnership with the Government of Kenya, specifically the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy and the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, and SEI.

Brenda Ochola / Published on 8 June 2022
Beautiful reef and orange fish in Okinawa sea, Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan

Photo: Hiroko Yoshii / Unsplash.

One of the key objectives of the event was to promote the importance of collaborative partnerships between the scientific, policy and private sector communities to facilitate investments and commercialization of research and innovations in Blue Economy and the ocean.

The first segment of the event focused on business partnerships for a sustainable blue economy, providing multi-sectoral leadership conversations among investors, development partners, multilateral financial institutions and research organizations within the context of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

The event highlighted tangible outputs from Science, Research and Innovation for Harnessing the Blue Economy, a synthesis of academic presentations made during the Science and Research Symposium of the first-ever Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC) held in Nairobi in 2018.

The book presents key science and technology issues identified by the participants of the conference as critical to spur action to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 on the oceans. The publication identifies several ventures to further the blue economy agenda, including how science and technology can advance these initiatives.

“Strengthening science and technology capacity in Africa is critical to the full realization of the potential of blue economy to enable the continent meet the development goals as espoused in the African Union Agenda 2063,” said SEI Africa Centre Director Philip Osano. “This requires massive investment in research capacity and partnerships to facilitate the commercialization of research innovations. SEI will continue to support African governments and scientific institutions to strengthen their research and innovation capacities as part of the implementation of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy.”

A key takeaway from the event was that building partnerships to advance the blue economy is key to sustainably harness the oceans and blue economy globally. We may live in different parts of the world, but the challenges are similar, so the ocean race is a race with a purpose.

Road to Lisbon

As the world prepares to meet in Lisbon, Portugal for the 2022 UN Ocean Conference from 27 June–1 July 2022, a top item on the agenda will include accelerating urgent action to achieve the implementation of SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

On the sidelines of Stockholm+50, the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, co-hosts of the UN Ocean Conference, held a special high-level event titled “The road to Lisbon”. In his opening speech at Stockholm+50, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta made a call for urgent ocean action ahead of the UN Ocean Conference.

By the time we head to COP27 in November this year, we should all aim to have developed a comprehensive, holistic and transformative package of environmental actions. This should be an integrated package that pulls together the outcomes of COP26 held last November, UNEA 5.2 in March, Stockholm+50 where we are today and the upcoming UN Oceans Conference to be held in Lisbon at the end of June this year.

H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H. President of the Republic of Kenya

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen said that climate and nature crises have caused trouble for the ocean and echoed calls by the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to recreate, reimagine, protect and restore nature.

At Stockholm+50 and beyond, we must tap into the Nairobi spirit we saw at the fifth UN Environment Assembly and get on with creating a better, sustainable future for our blue world. We have the knowledge, know-how and political momentum to change the trajectory.

Inger Andersen, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director

Looking ahead to Lisbon, Andersen spoke about what needs to be done.

At the UN Ocean conference, we must focus our efforts for building impact through these many tools, processes and initiatives. Specifically, we must support the global instrument to end plastic pollution by identifying policy and technology innovations that makes economic circularity practical and feasible.

Inger Andersen, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director

Read the book



Philip Osano
Philip Osano

Centre Director

SEI Africa

Karina Barquet
Karina Barquet

Team Leader: Water, Coasts and Ocean; Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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