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Blue economy pre-conference to focus on youth opportunities

Raphael Obonyo
Mr Raphael Obonyo. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The Youth Congress, Canadian High Commission and UN Habitat will host a one-day pre-conference on youth and the blue economy, ahead of the global summit to be held in Nairobi between November 26-28.

The meeting to be held on November 14 will focus on opportunities for young men and women in the counties' blue economy to advance the attainment of sustainable development goals (SDGS).

“Kenya is expected to host a High-Level Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy Conference from November 26-28, 2018 in ¬¬Nairobi, and the pre-conference prepares the youth to meaningfully participate in this conference,” said Raphael Obonyo, the convener at The Youth Congress which is coordinating the event.

The blue economy refers to sustainable use of the ocean and its resources for economic growth and to create jobs. It encompasses fisheries, tourism, maritime transport, waste management, climate change and renewable energy.

Counties

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The youth blue economy pre-conference will be held at the United Nations headquarters in Gigiri and will bring together 200 youth drawn from Lamu, Kilifi, Mombasa, Tana River, Siaya, Migori, Kisumu, Homabay and Busia counties, known for their reliance on water bodies for a livelihood.

The agenda of the preconference is to promote the inclusion of the youth in decision-making, particularly in projects that have a direct impact on them and future generations.

“The pre-conference will help to bridge the information gap among youth and young women on blue economy and opportunities for conservation of the environment and economic development. It explores programs by the national and county governments that youth and young women can take advantage of to create employment,” said Mr Obonyo.

The outcomes of pre-conference will see the development of a position paper on youth and young women initiatives and work in the blue economy for conservation and livelihoods, which shall presented to Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC) Secretariat and other stakeholders.

Hosts

The main blue economy conference next month, which will be co-hosted by Kenya and Canada, has the government racing to meet a target of Sh800 million required needed to host the global meeting.

Foreign Affairs principal secretary Macharia Kamau said Kenya has managed to cough up Sh650 million “without burdening the Kenyan taxpayers”.

"We are pleased that we are well on the way to raising Sh800 million for the conference," he said earlier this month.

Kenya is eyeing investments in its rivers, lakes and the Indian Ocean.

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