THE VALLEY, Anguilla – The government of Anguilla has officially become the latest member to join the United Kingdom’s Ocean Conservation Programme Blue Belt Initiative. Minister Quincia Gumbs Marie, minister of sustainability, innovation and the environment, announced the Blue Belt ceremony during the official visit of the UK minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Goldsmith.
The UK’s Ocean Conservation Programme Blue Belt Initiative seeks to steer progress by addressing the greatest challenges facing the world’s oceans today -coastal management, biodiversity loss, and plastic pollution. Anguilla’s participation in this initiative will seek to respond to marine challenges, manage their coastal and marine resources to spur economic growth and reduce poverty, while adapting to the effects of climate change.
The announcement was accompanied by a conservation tour of the island, attended by several dignitaries and prominent figures, including the Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, minister for overseas territories, Commonwealth, energy, climate and environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
By joining the Blue Belt Initiative, Anguilla demonstrates her commitment to biodiversity, the blue economy and sustainable management of its marine resources, as she aims to become the most sustainable island in the region.
Speaking at the ceremony, Quincia Gumbs-Marie, minister of sustainability, innovation and the environment at the government of Anguilla said:
“By joining the Blue Belt Initiative, Anguilla is demonstrating our commitment to improve the governance of marine and coastal ecosystems, achieve equal economic opportunities and restore and conserve biodiversity. This also signals a major step forward in the decade-old aspiration to invest in Anguilla’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is crucial to the economy of island states and showcases how Anguilla can maximise the benefits of sustainably managed oceans. Our management efforts will include monitoring illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in Anguillian waters, training for our stakeholders, and support for the establishment of sustainable fisheries.
“The work of this programme will be in consultation with all stakeholders of our seas to ensure the vision of sustainable development by way of the Blue Economy is realised. This announcement and this programme are a great opportunity to harvest economic benefits and propel Anguilla’s leading role in the sustainable usage of ocean resources for economic growth, improvement of livelihoods, and preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.”
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, minister for overseas territories, Commonwealth, energy, climate and environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) added:
“We have done terrible harm to the world’s oceans, from plastic pollution and overfishing to extraction and climate change. And we are just beginning to understand the ocean’s critical importance to life on earth – to the air we breathe, global food security and as a giant carbon sink. So it is crucial that we do everything in our power to protect the ocean, and Anguilla’s decision to join our Blue Belt Programme is a hugely welcome part of that. With the commitment agreed at the CBD COP15 in Montreal to protect 30 percent of the world’s land and sea by 2030, programmes such as these will be essential.”
Anguilla’s aim is to be perceived as a model for the Blue Economy due to its approach to conservation, sustainable fisheries and outstanding marine protected areas system. The initiative is part of a series of new innovations launched by the government of Anguilla which aim to deliver inclusive and sustainable Blue Economic growth across the island state.
Quincia Gumbs-Marie, minister of sustainability, innovation and the environment at the government of Anguilla further noted:
“This is an opportunity to emphasise the enormous potential of Anguilla’s marine economy which, if utilised optimally, will increase employment, productivity, and added value to the economy, creating new job opportunities, improving livelihoods and impacting the next generation.”
This announcement is also expected to promote global collaboration and contribute to the global transition towards more sustainable oceans.
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