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Mining CS Salim Mvurya: Aquatic spaces are repositories for tremendous wealth

In a significant step towards the development of Kenya’s Blue Economy, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Hon. Salim Mvurya, presided over the inception workshop for the ‘Lamu Blue Carbon Facility’ and the launch of the ‘Lamu Seafront Public Space’ on May 24, 2023.

Hon. Mvurya highlighted the interconnected nature of the initiatives being launched and their significance in the context of the Blue Economy, which is an emerging frontier for economic development in Kenya.

He explained that ‘Blue Carbon’ refers to the carbon captured and stored in coastal wetlands, such as mangroves, seagrass beds, and salt marshes. These ecosystems play a crucial role in the Blue Economy by providing numerous goods and services.

The Cabinet Secretary emphasized the global interest in the Blue Economy, with countries recognizing the wealth of natural capital present in aquatic spaces. He stated that healthy aquatic ecosystems are vital for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14 and all other SDGs. Hon. Mvurya highlighted Kenya’s commitment to sustainable blue economy development and environmental sustainability, as emphasized by President Dr. William Ruto during the 77th Session of the UN’s General Assembly in 2022.

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“Global interest in ‘blue economy’ has been growing, and countries are realizing that the aquatic spaces are repositories for tremendous wealth, in terms of natural capital. Healthy aquatic ecosystems are critical for the development and achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, as well as the realization of all the other SDGs,” said Hon. Mvurya.

The government’s dedication to addressing climate change was also emphasized, with a renewed commitment during the Climate Change Conference (COP 27) held in Egypt in 2022. The Cabinet Secretary revealed that the government aims to make carbon credits one of Kenya’s major export products and is finalizing legislation to enable global carbon trading.

“The government, through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, aims to make carbon credit one of Kenya’s major export products. To this end, the government is finalizing requisite legislation to enable Kenya to trade in the carbon space globally,” CS Mvurya said. 

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Restoring and protecting blue carbon ecosystems, as proposed in the current project, offer low-cost opportunities for carbon emissions mitigation. Hon. Mvurya highlighted the multiple co-benefits of trading carbon credits, which are generated from activities or projects that avoid, reduce, or remove greenhouse gas emissions. 

A sustainable blue economy holds the potential to play essential roles in emission reduction strategies while creating jobs, supporting food security, sustaining biodiversity, and enhancing resilience. Kenya has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 32% by 2030 in its updated Nationally Determined Contributions.

The Cabinet Secretary commended the government’s multi-agency approach as the most effective strategy for implementing blue economy programs. He acknowledged the County and National Government Institutions present for their role in the blue economy transformative agenda. The development of the National Mangrove Management Plan and Participatory Forest Management Plans served as examples of successful projects utilizing the multi-agency approach.

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