The European Union (EU) is rooting for the sustainable exploitation of biodiversity and natural resources for development amid the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
EU Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue said as communities gradually recover from the Covid-19 pandemic there is need to ‘deliberately invest in nature, climate and environment’.
The envoy stated that the global pandemic reminds mankind the correlation between destroying the environment and the risk of disease spillover from wildlife to people.
He underscored the need to use biodiversity in a sustainable manner at a rate that mother earth can renew them.
Mordue was speaking in Kwale when he launched the EU funded Biodiversity of Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA) that aims at enhancing the management effectiveness of Kisite – Mpunguti Marine Protected Area (MPA) and surrounding locally managed marine areas in the port villages of Shimoni and Vanga.
The envoy said the EU through their community-based approach is funding several food security projects in the coastal counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu.
He said the EU is conscious of the good that can ‘come off’ sustainable ocean economy exploitation to human life and biodiversity stressing that nature, climate and environment should be at the heart of Covid-19 recovery strategies.
Mordue said the launch of the BIOPAMA program that seeks to benefit 250 Beach Management Units in Msambweni sub county is a reflection of the EU’s commitment to this cause.
“This project is also intended to fortify ocean governance and fisheries which are areas we intend to deliver on as the EU in Kenya,” he said.
“We are funding community projects aimed at improving livelihoods through empowering small-scale marine fisheries communities for sustainable blue economy growth,” he said.
He added, “as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope to entrench sustainable management and governance of biodiversity and natural resources”.
The envoy noted that Blue Economy has a huge potential in the country and that the European body is injecting Sh.3 billion in Kenya in a programme dubbed ‘Go Blue’ that seeks to unlock sea opportunities.
On his part Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya who received the Ambassador and his entourage said the EU funded projects in the long run will see the spurring of the Blue Economy.
The Governor noted the marine conservation efforts will improve livelihoods and will facilitate sustainable biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development.
“Such environmental conservation projects will also contribute to sustainable blue economy growth, food security, and job opportunities,” he said.
He said his regional administration has over the years empowered the capacity of local farmers with knowledge, distributed fishing gears, boats and built fish landing sites.
by Hussein Abdullahi