High – Level Opening Plenary Session of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference co-hosted by Portugal and Kenya whereby President Uhuru Kenyatta co-chaired the 5-day conference with his Portuguese counterpart H.E Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and UN Secretary General António Guterres.
It’s my pleasure to be here today. Receive my greetings from Kenya. Hamjambo?·
I can tell you for a fact that as a Kenyan I’m glad Kenya had the honor to co-host The Ocean Conference, alongside the Government of Kenya and Portugal. It happens at an inflection point – when the world is coming to terms with the accelerated impact of the long Covid-19.·
Importantly, the inherent problems of most societies, especially those that derive their livelihood from the ocean – which include the communities I lead back at home, were severely exposed by the pandemic. I’m happy to note that this Conference, among many things, will help to curate concrete data-driven and innovative solutions on sustainable ocean management.·
This being the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, I am excited to see the progressive efforts that countries are putting to sustainably manage the ocean and more importantly to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.·
Kenya, for instance, has repositioned Blue Economy growth as an enabler of its long-term Vision 2030 economic blueprint, rightfully so. It is estimated that Kenya’s Blue Economy, and its 142,400 square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone has the capacity to contribute three times its current share of Gross Domestic Product, if well utilized.·
It is for these reasons that Kenya hosted Africa’s first Sustainable Blue Economy conference in Nairobi in 2018, to cement its commitment to the agenda.·
Further, Kenya has been working to align its Maritime Security structures with the ever-growing global Marine security challenges. As part of this, four years ago, Kenya launched the Kenya Coast Guard Service to help increase efficiency in protection of maritime resources.·
The Council of Governor’s Blue Economy Committee, which I chair, has since 2021 shepherded the Blue Growth Agenda between counties and the national government, specifically the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and employment.·
As a leader whose many of the people I serve are engaged in fishing activities, I understand first-hand the impact the region can have in the national and global economy. Lamu County, where I come from is a fishing hub that produces over 9300MT of fish annually, and 70% of the national crustacean (lobsters, crabs) catch in Kenya. It makes no sense that our smallholder fishermen continue to weather tough socio-economic conditions, similarly for fishermen nationally. It requires that we work tirelessly to change their status quo.·
The recent capitalization of Blue Economy sector opportunities by the Kenyan government in Lamu County speaks to these reforms. KES 1 billion (EUR 7.7 million, USD 9 million) has been set aside for development of a fish processing plant in Lamu County. it is part of KES 10.7 billion (USD 98 million, EUR 83 million) national financing strategy in the sector.·
The investment into Lamu County’s new Deep Sea Port infrastructure (LAPSSET) is another great step. This opportunity opens up the region, allowing transportation and marketing of fisheries products, promote fishing programs, open up space for larger vessels to dock, for repair, maintenance, replenishing of stock and offloading their catch.·
The Kenyan Government has set aside Ksh 1.76 billion to compensate thousands of fishermen in traditional fishing grounds who have been pervasively affected by dredging activities at the new port.·
For instance, under fisheries and economies, my County Government continues to build the capacity of the artisanal fishers to venture into deep sea fishing as well supported fishers with sustainable fishing gears and equipment which have increased fish production. We have also offered these subsidies it has waived loans owned by fishers through a revolving fund established earlier to incentivize them to catch more fish and get better income. Further, fish cold chain is also being developed through construction of ice and cold room facilities.·
At the small/county government level, we county of Lamu is making all efforts to scale the benefits of this economy to smallholder fishermen. For instance, we are developing small scale tuna and tuna-like species fishing to boost the small-scale fishers’ economies. The fishermen are being capacity built through Beach Management Units (BMUs) to access fish rich Kenyan Northern Banks which have been the domain of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUUs) fishing.·
In addition, a marine spatial plan is under way to guide on exploitation of the blue economy resources. Fish value addition initiatives have been started to increase fish shelf life, value and income. A Fish cooperative movement is being strengthened to ensure smooth and orderly accessibility of fish products to the market and control of exploitative middleman.·
The county also embarked on development of mangrove management plans to guide sustainable exploitation on these very valuable habitats. Importantly, there has been revision and development of new fisheries regulatory frameworks to ensure access rights to the locals and sustainable exploration of the blue resources.·
As we work towards a sustainable ocean use, we call on partners to find the opportunities therein for a collaborative partnership.·
The Lamu County Government has started providing induction training to the twelve newly deployed medical professionals who will work at the Lamu County Emergency and Referral Unit.
During the training at the KMTC hall in Mokowe, the director of health services, Dr. Abubakar Baasba, stated that the program is created to provide existing health care workers with the necessary knowledge and basis to appropriately prioritize the calls for emergency and response.
“The aim of this program is to train medical officers to better manage the initial triage and stabilization of patients with a wide variety of medical, and traumatic conditions at all times of day and night, provide supervision and direction for Emergency Medical Services and to coordinate emergency response,” said Dr Baasba
The healthcare providers who included Nurses, Doctors and Clinical Officers received training support from the Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation. Every participant’s unique tasks and responsibilities in managing an emergency are covered in detail throughout the course.
Residents of Bargoni have a reason to smile today after the County Government of Lamu through LAWASCO and HIMWA connected them with clean piped water.
Bargoni have not had piped water for over 6 years after their water line was vandalised by cartels who did not want piped water to reach Barigoni in order to allow their water trucking businesses to thrive.
The achievement is in line with Governor Fahim’s key pillar of ensuring all residents have access to clean and fresh water for domestic use.
Over 36,000 Lamu households will be proud property owners in the coming weeks!
This follows the national government’s unveil of 1 million title deeds, which paves way for Lamu County’s title deed issuance process.
The 36,000 issuances validate Governor Fahim Twaha’s land reforms strategy that promised to legitimize the status of small land owners in 2016.
Joining President Uhuru Kenyatta at the launch of the title deed issuance ceremony in Nairobi yesterday, Governor Twaha lauded President Kenyatta for seeing through his national land reforms program, and helping to unlock Lamu County’s land ownership impasse.
“The structural reforms at the national level have helped to expedite an otherwise long-winded process that has affected the issuance of title deeds at the County level.”
And added: “I’m glad because we’re slowly delivering on our commitment to the Lamu people. By issuing title deeds, we are not only resolving the land issue, but also allowing our people to utilize their land in a productive manner without worrying about losing it,” he said.
In the last 4 years Governor Twaha has issued approximately 6,300 title deeds.
“Title deeds will enable landowners and businesses to access credit facilities from financial institutions, affording them the chance to build permanent homes and practice crop and animal farming free from ownership disputes,” said Governor Fahim.
He added that, the move will also play a big role towards curbing insecurity which risk undermining peace and the intended benefits of massive government investments in the county, including the Lamu Port and the LAPPSET corridor.
Land reforms under President Kenyatta, executed by Lands CS Farida Karoney have facilitated registration of 6,1000,945 new title deeds.
The county government of Lamu has started a comprehensive civic education and capacity building program in partnership with the World Bank-funded Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP) to close gaps found in particular Key Result Areas in several departments.
The program currently underway at the Lamu Polytechnic in Mkomani Ward is now inducting about 40 newly hired ECDE teachers.
The main areas of focus for the trainings include public finance management, planning, monitoring, and evaluation, human resource, and performance management.
Devolution, intergovernmental cooperation, civic involvement, and public participation are among other areas covered. The program started on 15th June 2022 and will run through to 15th July 2022.
In attendance was the Chief Officer education Mr. Abdalla Ahmed, KDSP Focal Person Mr. Ahmed Kombo and ECDE Supervisor Md Buthaina among others.
The Shanga Ishakani ECDE project which consists of two classrooms and toilets, is 70% complete.
The Shanga Ishakani ECDE is one of eight ECDE projects that are nearing completion this fiscal year. In the last four years, 28 ECDE centers have been built, with two more being renovated.
The administration of Governor Fahim Twaha has remained committed to improving the county’s early childhood education standards by providing infrastructure support, teacher capacity building, the purchase of learning and teaching materials, and the employment of more teachers and ECDE supervisors for coordination and quality assurance, among other things.
Another 112 new instructors were employed end of May and have been deployed to different ECDE centers across the County. A new consignment of teaching materials has also been ordered, and it will be delivered to ECDEs around the county in the coming days.