Feb 18- 2022
The President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, participated in the One Ocean Summit held in Brest, France, at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron. The Summit, organised from Wednesday, 9th February to Friday, 11th February 2022, was held under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with support from the United Nations. The goal of the One Ocean Summit was to raise awareness of the international community on marine issues and to translate the awareness into tangible commitments towards the ocean’s sustainability.
President Akufo-Addo was accompanied to the Summit by Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Hon. Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Nana Bediatuo Asante, Secretary to the President; and Ambassador Anna Bossman.
Delivering his address during the High-Level Event of Heads of State and Government, held on the third day, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged the critical role the ocean played in sustaining human lives. He, however, bemoaned the effects of illegal, unregulated and under-reported fishing activities and other harmful practices, which have led to the decline in global fish stocks. To mitigate this, he noted that his government spent two hundred million dollars (US$200 million) annually to import fish in order to shore up the country’s requirements.
To reverse the trend, President Akufo-Addo outlined government’s strategy at the national, regional, continental and international levels. With regard to the national strategy, he indicated that a national Plan of Action was being implemented, which focused on, among others, fish catch certification, reactivation and installation of vessel monitoring systems (VMS), automatic identification system (AIS) on vessels, port and beach inspections, and sea patrols. He added that Ghana supports the principle of a global convention in this area.
Focusing on the West African initiative, the President announced that a pact had been signed with the Republics of Togo and Benin, to ensure the implementation of a joint fisheries’ observer programme as part of efforts to guarantee that safe, secure, and legal fisheries are maintained across the Gulf of Guinea. Work was also being concluded on an Ocean Governance Study and the establishment of requisite structures and processes towards the completion of the Sustainable Ocean Plan by 2025.
Turning his attention to the African continent, the President of the Republic affirmed Ghana’s commitment to ratifying the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on Fishing Vessel Safety, as an obligation to building the blue economy.
Lastly, President Akufo-Addo announced that Ghana, together with Ecuador, Germany and Vietnam, and with support from the United Nations Environment Programme, successfully convened the Ministerial Conference on Plastic Pollution and Marine Litter in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference aimed at addressing marine litter and plastic pollution. He pledged support for the vision of a new plastics economy, an initiative which Ghana will sign onto.