Chief Director reiterates importance of ‘blue economy’

Colonel Ababio Serebour speaking at the event
Colonel Ababio Serebour speaking at the event

Colonel Ababio Serebour (rtd), Chief Director, Ministry of National Security, has reiterated the importance of ‘blue economy’ in the nation’s socioeconomic development.

The ‘blue economy’ is an emerging concept which encourages better stewardship of the ocean’s resources.

Col Serebour said Ghana’s strategic location along the Gulf of Guinea presented both opportunities and challenges, for which stakeholders must evaluate and decide on the paths to address their maritime challenges and harness the opportunities of the maritime commons.

“Whilst most of us may be familiar with maritime threats such as piracy and armed robbery, pollution and Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, it is equally important to focus on the concept of ‘blue economy’ which epitomizes the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources for improved livelihoods,” Col Serebour stated at the opening of National Integrated Maritime Strategy (NIMS) Implementation Plan Validation Workshop in Accra.

“The ocean space is a key source of food, mineral resources, energy, transport and jobs for thousands of people in Ghana.”

He noted that of equal significance today was however, the cyber threat as indicated by both the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

He said the NIMS and its implementation plan must not only guide them to address threats, but also pursue opportunities inherent in being a coastal nation.

The two-day workshop on the theme, “Strengthening Strategic Approaches to Maritime Security in Ghana,” is being organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the Danish Government.

He recalled that in 2016, Ghana and the United States, signed a Joint Country Action (JCAP) under the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), which led to the Government of Ghana establishing the SGI Secretariat headed by a National Coordinator, Mr Osei Bonsu Dickson.

Col Serebour said under Mr Dickson’s direction, the SGI Secretariat had since its establishment led national security efforts in the development of National Maritime, Border and Cyber Strategies.

The Chief Director said under the SGI, a National Maritime Technical Working was constituted to develop the NIMS.

He intimated that in 2019, the Kingdom of Denmark through the UNODC came on board to support the NIMS process.

He said the funding allowed the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa (CEMLAWS Africa) to continue to offer technical support to the NIMS development process.

He said the financial support also led to the successful organisation of a three-day workshop to develop the Implementation Plan for the NIMS, which was held from 14th to 16th July in Korofidua.

He said the Government of Denmark through the UNODC had continued its support for NIMS process and graciously agreed to providing funding for the workshop.

Col Serebour reiterated the Government’s commitment to the development of the NIMS and Implementation Plan.

He announced that from the 8th to the 13th of November, the SGI Secretariat would be observing the SGI Week 2021, saying that this year’s programme dubbed, “CYBERX Africa 2021” would focus on Cybersecurity.

Madam Si Ji Song of UNODC, said the NIMS Implementation Plan would go a long way to ensure the principles of effective governance in the maritime industry.

Mr Osei Bonsu Dickson, SGI Coordinator and Director of Legal Affairs, Ministry of National Security, commended the Government of Denmark and the UNODC for organising the NIMS Implementation Plan validation workshop.

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