Ahead of the 6th AU-EU Summit and UN Ocean Conference, the Africa-Europe Foundation will co-host with the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) and the government of Portugal, a high-level debate focusing on ‘Ocean Governance’.
This side-event, taking place in the context of the Africa-Europe week, will offer a dialogue platform that aims at facilitating open, well-informed discussion around complex issues for the Africa-Europe partnership, by favouring a direct interaction with a number of high-level stakeholders ready to dive in key issues at the centre of the cross-continental partnership.
On several occasions, starting in Abidjan in 2017, the European and the African Unions have emphasised their mutual interest in advancing a common and prosperous ocean agenda. Ocean governance, including sustainable fisheries and blue economy, is an area in which closer cooperation could benefit both continents.
In support of the UN 2030 Agenda and, in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14 (“life below water”), and Africa’s 2063 Agenda, both continents would benefit from a joint approach emphasizing the importance of oceans and seas, not only for the safety, security, well-being and healthy environment of our societies, but also as a catalyst for socio-economic changes in the face of climate change and the pandemic.
The 6th Africa-Europe Summit, the French and Senegalese Presidencies of the EU Council and African Union, and COP 27 in Africa, offer an important space and window of opportunity to create a roadmap from the Heads of State’s Summit to the UN Ocean Conference in June and onto COP 27 in Egypt to reinforce strategic cooperation on ocean governance at a cross-continental and global level.
A cross-continental dialogue amongst government officials and non-state actors could enhance mutual understanding about ocean-related priorities, whereby the Africa and Europe would have an opportunity to advance a shared agenda, working together towards a mutually beneficial partnership in favour of economic opportunities, environmental preservation and resilience to climate change.
Questions will include:
- How could greater Africa-Europe cross-continental action on ocean benefit our economies and populations, while minimising threats to the environment?
- How could the two continents make the most of this decisive year and ensure a common approach is designed and deployed for the oceans?
- What are the biggest bottlenecks in relation to ocean governance to be addressed? How can the two continents work together towards a mutually beneficial partnership?
Helen Ågren is the Ambassador for the Ocean at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She has worked at the Swedish Government Offices since 2000, covering sustainable development strategies, green economy, consumption and production, climate mitigation and adaptation, research, innovation, and local investment programmes. She chaired the Swedish Council for Sustainable Development between 2005 and 2007 and has held advisory positions at Statistics Sweden on the national environmental accounts.
Catherine Chabaud is a Member of the European Parliament and a French sailor. During the third edition of the Vendée Globe (1996-1997), she became the first woman to complete a solo, non-stop round-the-world sailing race. It was during her ocean races that her commitment to environmental protection was born, following an awareness of the state of pollution of the ocean. She co-founded the Ocean and Climate platform and launched an initiative to have the ocean recognised as a global common. She was an advisor to the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council and then a delegate for the sea and the coastline within the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea. In 2019, she was elected MEP on the Renaissance list (Renew group). She is active at the European Parliament in the Development, Environment and Fisheries committees.
Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, from Angola, was re-elected as African Union Commissioner in 2021, with an extended portfolio encompassing in addition to Rural Economy and Agriculture, the Blue Economy and Sustainable Development. Prior to her current role, she was nominated as executive administrator on the Administrative Council of the Funds for Agriculture Development and also served as Special Adviser to two ministers in Angola, the minister of environment and the minister of agriculture. Commissioner Sacko is a leading agronomist and was the former Secretary-General of the Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO). Sacko also served as special adviser to the Vice-President of The Panafrican Woman Organization for Southern African Region.
Adjany Costa is the Advisor for Environmental Affairs to the President of the Republic of Angola, after having served as the youngest Minister in the History of the country, at age 31, to the then newly created (Super-)Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Environment. As a minister, she led the dialogue on Climate Action with several national and international stakeholders, promoting the creation of the first climate observatory in Angola. Adjany Costa authored a book and several scientific papers and has received various recognitions for her work, including the 2019 United Nations Young Champions of the Earth Award and the 2020 UN MIPAD, and has received a decoration in Angola with a Golden Medal for Civil Merit, in 2019.
Gaoussou Gueye has more than 30 years of experience in the Senegalese artisanal fishing sector, 10 years of experience in Africa, and 10 years of experience in industrial fishing. He is the President of the African Confederation of Professional Organizations for Artisanal Fisheries (CAOPA) and the Non State Actors Platform for the Fishing and Aquaculture Sector in West Africa (PANEPAO). He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI).
Nancy W. Karigithu, CBS is the Principal Secretary, State Department for Maritime and Shipping Affairs at the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development with responsibility for promotion of the Maritime and Shipping Industry in Kenya. Prior to this, she worked at the Kenya Maritime Authority as Director General for nine years. She has previously served as the Chair of the Technical Cooperation Committee, one of the five working committees of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for two terms. Currently she sits on the Boards of Governors of the World Maritime University (WMU) based in Malmo, Sweden and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute based in Malta.
Ricardo Serrão Santos is the Portuguese Minister of Maritime Affairs. Prior to this, he was Member of the European Parliament from 2014-2019. Aside from his role as coordinator of the Socialist Group for Fisheries, Serrao Santos serves as Vice-Chairman of the Intergroup, “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”. A sitting member of a variety of scientific advisory bodies, of which the Paris Oceanographic Institute, he was recently selected to join the UNESCO group responsible for drawing up the United Nations agenda for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). He has accumulated several honourable mentions, prizes and awards, including a Gift to the Earth, WWF’s highest accolade. In 2012, he received the Autonomous Insignia of Recognition of the Azores and was later knighted “Chevalier de l’Ordre de Saint Charles” by Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Virginijus Sinkevičius is Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, at the European Commission. Mr Sinkevičius was from 2017 to 2019 Minister of Economy, and before he was leading the Committee of Economy at the Parliament of Lithuania. Mr. Sinkevičius was elected to the Parliament in October 2016. Prior, he was a Team Lead for Regulatory Affairs at Invest Lithuania. Mr. Sinkevičius holds BA in International Relations and Affairs from Aberystwyth University and Master‘s degree in European International Affairs from Maastricht University.
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