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Shipping & Logistics

UN plan to revive blue economy post-Covid

Fishermen
Fishermen at Kibarani in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

With the blue economy among the hardest hit sectors by the covid-19 pandemic, the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has come up with 12 action-plan to revive it after the pandemic.

The actions are contained in its report Covid-19 Pandemic and the Blue Economy’, which highlights new challenges and prospects for recovery and resilience.

The UN trade agency among other issues is calling for countries to apply the least possible trade-restrictive response measures.

“Countries should introduce sanitary and social safety readiness and adaption plans for most vulnerable key Blue economy workers in tourism, maritime transport, fisheries and seafood processing. They should also monitor developments in shipping and address bottlenecks hampering trade in critical goods and materials. Key factors to monitor are the times ship spend in port, and the realibity of schedules,” said the report.

Other recommendations include the minimisation of unnecessary controls and burdensome procedures associated with goods including clearance to ensure that trade facilitation gains achieved over the years are not eroded.

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The agency further recommends that governments keep on the fight against illegal fishing in all shores and rely as much as a possible on electronic monitoring and surveillance systems complimented with targeted inspections and interventions at sea and port. The agency has also recommended that countries enhance coordination between fish and seafood suppliers with transport, warehousing and logistical services in order to avoid loss of product and food waste.

Countries, the report said, must also design and implement rescue package for vulnerable populations in blue economy sectors and actors. They should also phase out unsustainable public expenditure including fish and fuel subsidies, diverting resources to alternative biodiversity enhancing policies and also expedite public and private debt forgiveness, total or partially, particularly for Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), it added.

The agency projected that it could take between ten months and two years for travel and coastal tourism, which is one of the key blue economy sectors to recover, once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

According to the agency, the Blue economy accounts for about 3.5 percent to seven percent of the global GDP. “Blue economy sectors such as tourism and travel, maritime transport, fisheries and seafood production are heavily impacted by the pandemic. Disruption of supply side capacity such as transport routes, limited access to ports and closures, failing demand and increased number of sanitary measures and regulatory are undermining these sectors, the report said.

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