Morocco: High-level Conference on the Blue Belt Initiative in Agadir

On Tuesday, February 19, Morocco organized a conference in Agadir on the Blue Belt Initiative, a platform for fisheries and aquaculture sustainability in Africa, which is part of the agenda of the Conference of the United Nations on Climate Change.
Representatives from 22 countries, including 17 ministers, took part in this high level meeting which was attended by several ministers of Norway, Spain, Russia and Ivory Coast as well as international experts and FAO members.
Mr Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of the Kingdom of Morocco, recalled on this occasion that Africa, which will be responsible for half of the population growth in thirty years, today contributes only 7% of world fish production and only 3% of international trade in fishery products.
Mr. Akhannouch also spoke of the development and modernization strategy for the "Halieutis" marine fishery, which Morocco has been running since 2009 and which dedicates the principle of sustainability.
Launched in 2016 by the Kingdom of Morocco, on the sidelines of COP 22 in Marrakech, the Blue Belt Initiative provides a unifying framework for the emergence of a low-carbon fisheries economy, of a low ecological footprint on coastal marine ecosystems. It also concerns the creation of integrated coastal observing systems and the development of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and coastal communities.
At the end of the conference, the Agadir Declaration on the Blue Belt Initiative was delivered by all the representatives. It reaffirmed the commitment of the parties to the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and emphasized " the strategic role of the ocean economy and aquaculture in Africa in terms of food, economic growth, jobs and innovation ", while acknowledging" 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."
The Agadir Declaration also called for "investing in the blue economy, and more specifically sustainable, innovative and protective fisheries and aquaculture of the oceans", by "facilitating technological and social innovation, exchange of good practices and social entrepreneurship, thus increasing 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. "