On March 25, 2021, the Ministry of Devolution and the Blue Economy Secretariat, the Governors of six coastal counties in Kenya with team Europe, launched the Go Blue Initiative. The program is aimed to protect Kenya’s six coastal ecosystems by fostering a “sustainable blue economy” that would generate over 3000 employment opportunities for women and youth alone.

The initiative has received 25 million euros from the European Union and two UN agencies – the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat will guarantee that the project aligns with environmental conservation and urban planning goals. Italy, with the other three EU member states, France, Germany, and Portugal will provide technical expertise on economic growth.

Our marine and coastal ecosystems are extremely valuable in terms of providing ecosystem services – with many people earning their livelihoods through them. Rather than depleting or polluting these resources, we must develop ways in which to harness and protect themsaid Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UNEP.

Go Blue Initiative will develop untapped maritime resources of coastal communities of Kenya to provide women and youth with economic opportunities. The initiative will bring inclusive, integrated, and sustainable approaches to economic growth, while developing new work streams, like small-scale fisheries, waste recycling, aquaculture or tourism, and technical skills in blue economy sectors, strengthening value chains and tackling regional bottlenecks.

It will also promote coastal counties’ efforts to develop integrated approaches to land-sea planning and management with a focus on restoring key coastal and marine ecosystems. Consequently, the capacity of Kenya’s Coast Guard will be strengthened to safeguard ocean assets. Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd. Sharif said, “Jointly working on integrated spatial planning solutions – both on land and in water – on different levels of government and with consideration to different sectors is key to achieving a sustainable blue economy.

Go Blue will be implemented in cooperation with the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani – Kenya’s coast regional counties Economic Development Organization – together with national ministries, such as the Blue Economy Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Kenya Coast Guard Service, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Transport, and Bandari Maritime Academy.

For more information: UNEP – New programme to support Kenya’s coast and Blue Econo