President Yoweri Museveni has underscored sustainable conservation of water bodies as a prerequisite for human survival.
“When we talk about blue economy, we are talking about life. There is no life without water. We should link water resources to human survival, ‘’ he said.
The President was yesterday presenting the Government’s commitment to sustainable blue economy at the opening of the three-day conference at the Kenya International Conference Center in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference is the first global meeting on the sustainable conservation of water bodies aimed at harnessing the potential of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers, to improve the lives of all, particularly people in developing states, especially women and youth.
The conference, whose theme is ‘The blue economy and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development’, is being hosted by Kenya, in partnership with Japan and Canada as co-hosts and has attracted over 4,000 participants from around the world.
The President said although Uganda is landlocked, it shares water bodies such as Lake Victoria and River Nile, with neighboring countries, adding that conservation of those water bodies is paramount to realizing their many benefits, such as provision of food, energy, employment, as well as formation of rain and regulation of the climate.
Citing challenges to sustainable water conservation in Uganda, he said the country is grappling with human interference with vegetation. He said such causes soil erosion and silting of rivers and lakes; cultivation on hills, over fishing and dumping.
The President outlined the Government’s commitment to water body conservation through controlled fishing, installation of surface radars to monitor lake activities, resettling of people who live in wetlands, as well as electronic registration of all boats’ operations on lakes and rivers. He castigated the misuse of water bodies by developed countries through poor industrial waste disposal, which he attributed to greed, while the same vice is perpetrated by peasants in developing countries who destroy vegetation around water bodies in search of land for settlement and cultivation.
He, however, said in both instances, concrete sustainable water body conservation should be a priority for
concerned governments. President Uhuru Kenyatta, the host, while presenting his country’s commitment, said Kenya had embarked on a plan to conserve water bodies by combating illegal fishing and ensuring security on water, banned single use plastics and provided funds for improved water conservation, among others.
He called for combined effort from all members in the preservation of the world’s water bodies.
“Unless our environmental resources are conserved, there will be no survivor on earth. Success in management of our aquatic resources hinges on us working together,’’ he said.
The president of Seychelles, Danny Faure, currently the champion for Blue Economy in Africa, said good governance and transparency are key in realizing a sustainable blue economy.The conference will, among other things, identify ways of harnessing the potential of the water bodies to create jobs and combat poverty and hunger; show how economic development and healthy waters go hand in hand, as well as capture commitments and practical actions that can be taken for positive changes.