Africa now equipped to take critical decisions on Blue Economy, says Lodge
The Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), Michael Lodge, has said that African nations are now better equipped to take critical decisions to enhance the development of their blue economies.
He stated this at the end of the 4th edition of the Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) Sub-Regional workshop organised by the International Seabed Authority in collaboration with the National Boundary Commission, Transport Ministry, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Navy and other MDAs.
He said: “I think there is going to be a particular benefit for Nigeria, but the idea of the project as a whole is that we will go to different locations in Africa.”
According to him, the project is aimed at the whole of Africa and of course Nigeria because they have expressed a very strong interest in it.
“We had three days technical content discourse about deep sea exploration, deep sea resource potential in terms of mineral resource potential, marine environment protection and technology, as well as capacity development for the benefit of African states.
Lodge said it was three days of presentations, discussions, and serious technical sessions involving relevant private and public sector agencies, civil society, environmental experts in Nigeria and eight neighbouring African countries.
He said: “We have come up with a set of recommendations and proposals as to how African countries can engage much more in deepsea scientific research, deepsea technology development, capacity development and, eventually, resource exploitation. Overall, I think it has been an extremely productive and exciting three days and I am very positive about the future engagement of Africa in the deepsea economy.
“We have been to Equitorial Guinea, South Africa, Mauritius, Cote D’Ivoire, and we are in Nigeria now. So, we are collecting opinions and inputs from the different regions of the continent. But the final workshop in this particular programme will be convened to review the recommendations of these regional workshops and put together a whole literature of recommendations and proposals and, hopefully, African states will be able to take critical political decisions at the African Union and at the level of nation-states as well as the International Seabed Authority and other International organisations to advance the interests of African countries.”
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Jamaica, and Permanent representative on the International Seabed Authority, Dr. Maureen Tamuno said there is a lot for Nigeria to benefit from the International Seabed.
Dr Tamuno said: “We used this workshop to create awareness and also to engineer the participation of Nigerians, especially collaboration between the private sector and government so that they will be able to get into the exploration stage, which is what other countries are doing.
According to her, awards of contracts are being given out to other countries and unfortunately, no African country has been able to get because of lack of awareness. So, what we are simply doing, she said, is to create awareness and stimulate their appetite.
The International Seabed Authority implements the ADSR project in partnership with the African Union, as well as the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and activities are undertaken in cooperation with States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in partnership with the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC).