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5th Group on Earth Observation Blue Planet Symposium hosted by Ghana,

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The 5th Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Blue Planet Symposium, hosted by Ghana, is underway with a focus on the global marine and coastal community.

The five-day symposium, organised in Accra, is on the theme: “Local Action in Support of Global Traction”.

The flagship event is being held for the first time on the African continent with the aim of improving GEO Blue Planet’s engagement with African nations in an effort to expand the Earth observation community of practice, strengthen local capacity, and provide them with access to resources, tools, and services.

The symposium is being organised by the University of Ghana and the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), in close cooperation with the GEO Blue Planet Secretariat represented by Mercator Ocean International, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Maryland, and the Atlantic Innovation Research Centre (AIR Centre).

Dr Emily Smail, Executive Director of GEO Blue Planet Secretariat, said the initiative worked to ensure the sustained development and use of ocean and coastal observations for the benefits of society.

With the first symposium held in 2015, she said this year’s symposium was expected to increase regional linkages, promote collaboration between stakeholders and the observing community, and gather feedback on the focus of symposium activities.

“We are excited to be here in Ghana for the symposium. We look forward to making connections with the ocean and coastal researchers of Africa, and local and regional change-makers.

“We are hoping the symposium will spark innovative projects to help with the sustainable development of the blue economy across Africa, and improve conservation of Africa’s resources.” she said.

“Highly polluted inland rivers imply that we are heavily polluting our oceans, hence killing the seas and oceans for the fishing industry.”

“We must take efforts to stop illegal mining, stop pollution of our inland waters, and revitalise our oceans to boost the blue economy of Ghana. If we kill our oceans, we are indirectly killing our own survival,” Professor Amos Kabo-Bah Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UENR said.

Mr Kwamena E. Quainton, Chief Director, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, Science and Innovation, encouraged participants to take advantage of the event to explore innovative ways to enhance the power of technology.
He announced that Cabinent had approved the National Space Policy with the aim of managing the environment in an efficient and efficient manner.

Mr Massimo Mina, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, pledged commitment to a successful event and called on all stakeholders to participate fully and come up with recommendations to improve the ocean sector.

The full-packed symposium will include training sessions, plenary sessions, and thematic workshops, among others.

The discussions of the symposium will have relevant actions for the Coastal Development Authority of Ghana to transform coastal communities into a booming economic powerhouse for the country and beyond. 

The training sessions will equip the next generation of researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, to connect their coastal communities and economies with global opportunities in ocean data to safeguard the seas and oceans, and create value addition for the fishing and other coastal industries.

The plenary sessions on fisheries, ecosystem conservation, and coastal hazards offer a diverse and rich panel of speakers that will unpack the needs of coastal communities across Africa, highlight existing tools and opportunities for them to address their challenges, and provide inspiring examples that can shine a light on the way forward.

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