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The Department of Blue Economy Attends Working Session with African Union Commission (AUC) to Develop the 2023 Work Programme for Seychelles as the AU Blue Economy Champion

Mrs. Phillianne Ernesta, the Director General for Policy and Programme Management of the Department of Blue Economy headed a delegation consisting of Mr. Chrissant Barbe and Miss Gabriella Gonthier, and attended a Working Session with the Directorate of Blue Economy at the African Union Commission (AUC) on the 25th and 26th of April 2023. The main aim of the mission was to develop the 2023 Work Programme for Seychelles as the AU Blue Economy Champion and to enhance cooperation between Seychelles and the AU on the Blue Economy.

The Working Session had the following objectives:

  • To chart the way forward for the blue economy in Africa, and to implement initiatives and programmes more effectively.
  • Confer the planned activities for 2023 and methods to amplify their visibility and impact as well as avenues for joint programming.
  • To highlight some of the challenges faced by the AUC and how Seychelles can help to address them.
  • To explore ways and modalities to increase inclusiveness in the design and delivery of blue economy programmes and policies in Africa, with a particular focus on women and youth.

For the two working days, the staff of the Department of Blue Economy had the opportunity to report on the progress of the implementation of the blue economy programmes in Seychelles. The Seychelles side explained that the Department of Blue Economy in Seychelles plays a critical role in coordinating and managing the country’s Blue Economy sector. It was noted that the implementing role of activities and initiatives of the blue economy rests with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). As a result, the Department of Blue Economy has its own Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework to monitor how these activities are implemented. Understanding the importance of having an M&E Framework, the Department has assisted the AU to draft its own M&E for Africa as a whole in order to be able to effectively survey the effectiveness of its blue economy initiatives.

Furthermore, during the Working Session, a point was raised relating to the need to elevate the importance of subsectors in the blue economy as there is a huge misconception that the fisheries sector is the only, and primary sector under the blue economy. Because of this, the Seychelles side explained that the Department has recently put more emphasis on the circular economy and marine biotechnology as subsectors, which involves designing products and processes that reduce waste and increase efficiency, and using marine resources for the development of new products such as pharmaceuticals and technologies, respectively. Thus, the Department of Blue Economy will be working closely with the AU to increase sensitisation efforts to showcase all facets of the blue economy sector.

The Department of Blue Economy along with the Directorate of the Blue Economy of the AUC will be committed to merging their efforts to implement the agreed initiatives, plans and activities for the year 2023.