May 15-17, 2023 (Nairobi, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with Sub-Regional Office of East Africa (SRO-EA) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) conducted a training to IGAD Member States on the UNECA Blue Economy Valuation ToolKit (BEVTK) in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Blue Economy Valuation Toolkit (BEVTK), allows for quantified estimates of the existing economic, social as well as ecological contribution of the Blue Economy resources and services of a country which includes: sea, lakes, rivers, and wetlands. The BEVTK adopts a multisectoral approach and complements step-by-step methodology for policy development highlighted in the Blue Economy Policy Handbook for Africa also developed by UNECA in 2016
The three-day training brought together BE National Focal Person, National Statistics Office Data Expert, Blue Economy Researcher from Academia/ Research Institutions, and Fisheries Director/ Director General from IGAD member states of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda as well as experts from UNECA with the aim of building the knowledge base and capacity of IGAD Member States for policy makers and relevant stakeholders to be able to conduct adequate planning.
Speaking at the opening of the training, IGAD Head of Mission to Kenya, Dr. Fatuma Adan representing IGAD Executive Secretary H.E. Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD) said “This training is critical to quantify the contribution of BE for GDP and produce policy briefs for policy makers so that the sectors will get the required budget. Traditional sectors such as fisheries, tourism, mineral extraction and marine and river transport are showing evidence of significant development capacities while emerging sectors such as aquaculture, marine biotechnology and bioprospecting, desalinisation and renewable energy are currently lacking attention and require substantial attention in the future”.
Trainees had a hands-on practical session on the application of Blue Economy Valuation Toolkit (BEVT) to calculate the contribution of BE sectors for Gross Domestic Products (GDP). They also exercised the estimation of Blue Economy for social development and ecosystem service uses of marine and aquatic ecosystems. One limitation of the toolkit that needs further work was that the toolkit is mainly for marine environment, and it needs an improvement to address inland aquatic ecosystems.
At the conclusion of the training ended, the recommendations of the way forward are:
- Create a platform at national & regional level that will roll out the toolkit.
- IGAD and UNECA mobilise resources for capacity building and further application of the toolkit in each IGAD Member States.
- Research & higher learning institutions should take the leadership on generating data required for their inputs to apply the toolkit.
- UNECA and trainers (tool developers) work further and release the online version of the toolkit
The Training was held with financial support from the Sweden Government under the IGAD Project “Enhancing Blue Economy in the IGAD Member States for Biodiversity Conservations and Livelihood Diversification”.