Stakeholders, industry players and consultants in the marine space have been engaged in the need for a Sustainable Ocean Plan (SOP) for the country of Takoradi in the Western Region.
The engagement, under the leadership of the SDGs Advisory Unit in the Office of the President and the Secretariat for Ghana’s SOP, would ensure that the SOP is developed and implemented through a participatory, transparent, equitable and accountable process.
The SOP would guide all stakeholders in the sustainable use of ocean resources and help address many challenges including food insecurity, pollution, poverty, inequalities, and unemployment which are becoming a global threat.
In December 2020, the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) launched its ‘Transformations for a Sustainable Ocean Economy – A Vision for Protection, Production and Prosperity’ and signed on by 17 countries.
As a founding member of the Ocean Panel, President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored Ghana’s commitment to developing a Sustainable Ocean Plan (SOP) by 2025.
Dr Felix Addo-Yobo, Deputy Director and Advisor said the workshop sought to create awareness of the Sustainable Ocean Plan and its processes, identify challenges and opportunities at the sub-national level, provide a space for peer exchange and interaction among all stakeholders, explore priorities and needs for stakeholders towards the development of the SOP and mobilise support, ownership and co-develop the SOP with all stakeholders.
It was expected that participants gained a better understanding of Sustainable Ocean Plans and its processes, challenges and opportunities at the subnational level identified and documented and the commitment of participants secured to support, co-develop, and own the SOP.
Dr Addo- Yobo said the SOP with a financing framework, would help to make the document very active and operational after its development, “we hope to make the private sector an integral part of this process by matching the needs with the private sector.”
Professor Kwasi Appeaning Addo, the Director, Institute for Environmental and Sanitation Studies, University of Ghana, lead for the project said the protection, production and prosperity was critical for posterity’s sake.
He said reconciling the conflicting issues in the sector with stakeholders was key as well as working on the five key areas-Ocean health, equity, knowledge, wealth, and marine security in reviving the ocean for the future generation.
Mr Kofi Agbogah, Chairman of the SOP working group expressed worry that the 550 km coastline had been hampered by many human actions including Plastic waste, and usage of chemicals by fisherfolks among other unhealthy practices that were compromising the health and safety of Ghana’s waters.
He encouraged Ghanaians to reverse such activities and collectively, help to restore strength to the sea which had the potential to create jobs and wealth in the value chain for many people in the country.
Plenary sessions mooted the idea for early education on the ocean and its benefits in Ghanaian school’s curriculum, improvement in sea transportation to ease pressure on the road, tourism, sports, and scholarship for interested parties who wants to advance a career in the sector.