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The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen, has called on the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, or the Ocean Panel, to do more to market investment opportunities in the ocean economy.

This, Klazen says, will maximise the country's economic benefits. 

The minister made the call at the just-ended Ocean Panel on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Klazen vowed that Namibia remains committed to the course, citing that in the 2019/2020 financial year, Namibia invested about N$125 million in conducting scientific research surveys on living marine organisms and the marine environment. 

The country, he added, is also currently working on finalizing a comprehensive blue economy policy aimed at creating synergies and coordinating all blue economic activities.

He said Namibia has also identified three critical areas in ocean management, which are ocean health, ocean wealth and ocean equity, and their corresponding themes for implementation.

However, Klazen pointed out that Namibia and its neighbouring countries are faced with a funding challenge, while the limited funding available is rarely invested in ocean projects.

Therefore, Klazen says that there is a need for the Ocean Panel to market the investments in ocean-based solutions at an international level. 

The Ocean Panel, he says, should also encourage member states to pass investor-friendly laws that include aspects of capital repatriation, reduction or rebating of taxes, protection against industrial actions, and streamlining the ease of doing business.

Klazen further added that there is also a need to coordinate, arrange, package, advertise, and administer competitive applications or bids for grant funding or beneficial loans targeted at ocean initiatives.

He explained that these grants and bids should be targeted to ensure that funds are spent on ocean resources.

The Ocean Panel is an initiative of 17 world leaders whose aim is to build momentum for a sustainable ocean economy in which effective protection, sustainable production, and equitable prosperity go hand in hand.

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July Nafuka