MEDIA STATEMENT

01 September 2015

Deputy Minister Mfeketo to lead a South African delegation at a Blue Economy conference in Mauritius

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. Ms Nomaindiya Mfeketo, will lead the South African delegation at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Conference in Mauritius from 2 – 3 September 2015.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) was formally launched in 1997, and is a cooperative community of twenty (20) coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean, and six (6) non-member Dialogue Partner States. South Africa will serve as Vice Chair of IORA in October 2015, and Chair the Association from October 2017 – 2019

The inaugural Blue Economy Conference is taking place in the context of IORA having decided to make the Ocean Economy/Blue Economy a strategic priority.  South Africa is one of the Conference initiating member countries.

The Conference is an opportune platform to conceptualize the Blue Economy and enable cooperation on exploiting the vast ocean resources. Key features of agenda entail analysing the existing capacities of the Member States in the following:

  • Fisheries and Aquaculture;

  • Renewable Ocean Energy;

  • Seaport and Shipping; and

  • Seabed Exploration and Minerals,

Furthermore, the Blue Economy Conference will discuss and analyse the Ocean Economy-related programmes and problems of Small Island Developing States; discuss the ways and means to promote public-private partnership in exploring the sea resources in the Member States of Indian Ocean Rim; and discuss and suggest the common - policy framework for the development of the Blue Economy in Member States.

The Blue Economy offers a model of development that is ocean-based rather than solely land based, and better suited to the challenges and opportunities of Indian Ocean Rim economies. It highlights the role biodiversity, including marine life and ecosystems, plays in supporting marine economic activity and enhancing food security.  In this context, at a domestic level, South Africa has its own strategy, which was launched by President J.G. Zuma in October 2014, for the Ocean Economy, as encapsulated in Operation Phakisa, spanning the priorities of Marine Manufacturing and Marine Transport, Aquaculture, Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, as well as Marine Protection and Governance. South Africa in the Indian Ocean Rim Association aims to optimise this convergence of the domestic priorities and the IORA priorities, as an area of high value potential.

Enquiries: Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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460 Soutpansberg Road
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