South Africa’s leadership in fishers’ safety and security lauded: South East Asian countries

DSC_4428.JPGCape Town: 04 September 2019

Over five days, from 26-30 August 2019, about three dozen delegates from three South East Asian countries – Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand – rubbed shoulders and closely interacted with their South African counterparts in the Western Cape, exchanging notes on the implementation of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 188.

On their departure from South Africa at the weekend, the delegates – among them senior government officials at ministerial and director level, as well as ILO officials, were more than impressed.

In their own words, captured in the following video interviews, not only did they learn much of what they hoped for about the implementation of the ILO’s C188, but they also felt that South Africa’s leadership in the regard, and partnership going forward, were crucial in the success of their own endeavours to ensure the implementation of the instrument in their own countries to ensure the safety and security of their fishing sectors’ labour.

DSC_4448.JPGILO officials, who accompanied the delegates both during a two day workshop in Cape Town on Monday and Tuesday, as well as during actual fishing vessels inspections in Cape Town, Saldanha Bay and St Helena Bay on the west coast of South Africa, led by South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officials headed by Mr Selywn Bailey, were no less impressed.

DSC_4557.JPGSpoken to by this blog in the video interviews featured below,  (in no particular order) were

  1. Mr Basilio Araujo, Assistant Deputy Minister, Indonesia’s Office of the Deputy Coordinating Minister for Maritime Sovereignty and Resilience, Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs;
  2. Mr Indra Setiawan, Head of Facilities and Infrastructure Section at Indonesia’s  Directorate of Manpower Law Compliance, Directorate General of Inspection, Ministry of Manpower;
  3. Ms Mi Zhou, Project Manager of the ILO’s Indonesia Sea Fisheries Project;
  4. Ms Ma.Teresita S. Cucueco,  the Phillipines director of Bureau of Working Conditions in the Department of Labour and Employment.
  5. Mr Somboon Trisilanunt, deputy Director-General in Thailand’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW), Ministry of Labour and
  6. Rear-Admiral Apichai Sompolgrunk, Director -General at Thailand’s Office of Maritime Security Affairs, Naval Operations Dept., Royal Thai Navy/ Command Centre to Combat Illegal Fishing (CCCIF).

Take a listen:

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Norway sets up new fund to combat marine litter : Asia and Africa among likely early beneficiaries

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File photo: A figurine made of plastic waste collected in South Africa’s marine environment on display at this year’s Africa Marine Waste conference held at the Feathermarket Centre in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape province in July.

Pretoria: 23 October 2017

The battle against global marine pollution has been given a massive boost following an announcement by the Norwegian government of the setup of a fund totaling NOK150-million (or R258-million) for use in efforts to combat marine waste.

In a statement, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende said marine litter globally had become a huge environmental hazard, with some areas of the world far worse than others. The fund budgeted for 2018 would initially target these areas, he said.

‘Norway intends to take the lead in ocean affairs internationally. Marine litter, including plastics, has become one of the most serious environmental problems of our time. That is why the Government is launching a concerted effort to combat marine litter and microplastics and is establishing a development programme in this field,’ said Mr Brende.

He added that: “The new development programme will use effective and environmentally sound approaches to combating marine litter. To start with, the programme will focus on Southeast Asia, which is the region where the problem is most acute. We will also look at ways of using the programme to support other countries and regions where marine litter is a growing problem, for example in Africa.”

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File photo: Delegates to this year’s Africa Marine Waste conference in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in July

For Africa, this is expected to come as a boost particularly given that this comes only three months after the region held a five day conference in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to focus specifically on the progressively impending marine waste pollution disaster along the continent’s coastlines.

At that conference in July, it was revealed that with more than 150 million tons of plastic material floating across the world’s oceans – and likely to rise to 950mt in 30 years – and with very little being done about it, the world was facing an imminent ecological disaster.

However, it was also confirmed that the problem was especially acute in Africa.

Among more than a dozen scientists attending and sharing views on the problem, Dr Linda Godfrey, a manager of the Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit at the Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSRI) in South Africa, painted a disturbing picture of particularly the African continent with regards both its current status on waste management as well as imminent future challenges that could make the task of eliminating plastic waste more difficult if not arrested effectively, soon.

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File photo: More plastic waste ends up in the world’s waters inland and oceans than is collected and properly disposed of.

She said the continent was largely characterized by poor landfill practices, general poor waste management, uncontrolled dumping compounded by a rapidly growing population of middle income people who were increasingly migrating to predominantly coastal cities.

“Africa is at a watershed, in that if we do not stop and take action now, we are going to be faced with a massive marine waste problem locally, regionally and the potential impact globally. And there are essentially seven reasons that I see for why we should take action now,” she said.

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File photo: Delegates to a one day conference held in Cape Town in July 2017 also discussing the growing threat of marine waste globally.

Days later at  a mini conference hosted jointly by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the United States Consulate, the International Ocean Institute and the V&A Waterfront held at the Two Oceans Acquarium at Cape Town’s Waterfront, it emerged that South Africa was among top contributors to marine waste generation.

It was revealed that the country at the southern tip of the African continent, at the point at which three oceans meet, ranks No.11 in the world for waste management production and that the country alone is responsible for 12% of global plastic waste and about 2% of total mismanaged plastic waste, leading to between 0.9-0.25 megatons of it ending as marine plastic waste annually.

A week ago in Oslo, the Norwegian government said Africa would be an area of focus for the new fund beginning 2018, adding that the contribution was part of Norway’s overall effort supportive of campaigns undertaken by such as the UN Environment, the World Bank and INTERPOL to combat marine litter.

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File photo: Ship accidents at sea also contribute to waste pollution if not dealt with fast and effectively.

“Norway’s new development programme will include efforts to reduce waste and improve waste management in the areas that are most seriously affected by marine litter. Supporting efforts to clean up shorelines and coastal areas can also have a major impact,” said Mr Brende.

Meanwhile, Mr Brende said his government also intended intensifying its engagement with other countries in the identification and responsible exploitation of more economic opportunities presented by the world’s oceans economy,

“The Government is calling for sustainable use of the oceans to be given greater priority at the international level.

“Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted a high-level event at the UN General Assembly on 20 September on the wealth of opportunities offered by the oceans. The event was attended by heads of state and government and ministers from a number of countries.

‘Norway has also supported the initiative to appoint a UN special envoy for the oceans. Former President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji was appointed to this important post in September, and Norway will support him in his work,’ Mr Brende said.

He further confirmed that the Norwegian Stortinget (or Parliament) had also approved in June this year, a white paper on the place of the oceans in Norwegian foreign and development policy.

“The white paper sets out three priority areas: sustainable use and blue growth, clean and healthy oceans, and the role of the blue economy in development policy. In the time ahead, the Government will conduct dialogues on ocean affairs with other countries with a view to strengthening cooperation in these three areas,” he said.

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The world’s oceans are drowning, but there is an economic opportunity to it: African Marine Waste Conference 2017

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Port Elizabeth: 10 July 2017

With more than 150 million tons of plastic material floating across the world’s oceans – and likely to rise to 950mt in 30 years – and with very little being done about it, the world is facing an imminent ecological disaster, scientists told delegates at a conference on marine waste currently underway in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The African Marine Waste Conference 2017 began on Monday with about 200 delegates and will end Friday, with its main aim being to encourage development of concrete plans to turn the tide on plastic and related waste being dumped willy-nilly by nations bordering the continent’s coastline.

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Dr Linda Godfrey

Dr Linda Godfrey, a manager of the Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit at the Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSRI) in South Africa, one of the early speakers on Monday, painted a disturbing picture of particularly the African continent with regards both its current status on waste management as well as imminent future challenges that could make the task of eliminating plastic waste more difficult if not arrested effectively, soon.

She said the continent was largely characterized by poor landfill practices, general poor waste management, uncontrolled dumping compounded by a rapidly growing population of middle income people who were increasingly migrating to predominantly coastal cities.

“Africa is at a watershed, in that if we do not stop and take action now, we are going to be faced with a massive marine waste problem locally, regionally and the potential impact globally. And there are essentially seven reasons that I see for why we should take action now,” she said. For Dr Godfrey’s full remarks (lasting about 4.30 minutes) Click Here.

For her full conference presentation in audio only, Click Here.

There is no such thing as waste. We know enough!

Dr Godfrey’s presentation correlated with that by United States scientist, Dr Sylvia Earle, a multi science awards winner and founder of Mission Blue as well as a National Geographic Explorer in Residence.

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Dr Sylvia Earle

Plastic waste was not necessarily disastrous and instead a great economic opportunity if it was managed effectively through recycling, said Dr Earle.

She said lack of knowledge about the effects of plastic waste dumping particularly in the oceans was no longer an excuse as its effects were now fully understood.

“Most of the oxygen that we breathe is generated by the oceans. Ocean creatures take up carbon dioxide, a carbon dioxide that is important for photosynthesis generating food.

“But too much of a good thing is not only harming the oceans, by making the oceans more acidic, by warming the planet. The carbon dioxide and other gasses such as methane are accelerating the warming of the earth, causing polar ice to melt, changing the climate, changing the weather, changing the one place in the universe that is our home, the only home that humankind – seven billion  of us – will ever have.”

She said the conference currently underway in Port Elizabeth was a good opportunity to not only share the knowledge at hand about the effects of plastic waste in the oceans but to also explore creative  solutions necessary to effectively manage waste.

For her full remarks (about 4 minutes), please Click Here.

Operation Phakisa (“Waste Economy” ) on the cards for South Africa!

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Dr Andre Share

Meanwhile, it emerged that South African authorities were not only looking at increasing plastic waste management practices soiling its own three oceans characterized by 3200km of a coastline and some 1.5-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone but also it  intended taking full economic advantage of it.

Dr André Share, head of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) in the Department of Environmental Affairs revealed that an Operation Phakisa Waste Management initiative in the offing and would be rolled out soon.

“Very soon, we will have a Waste Phakisa, and there we will unpack not only what we are doing with the waste, but also looking at how we turn this waste into opportunities and look at the whole secular economy in respect of waste.”

Dr Share in an opening speech delivered on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, said the launch of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative three years ago was incrementally showing positive returns in terms of investment in both ports infrastructure and related private sector investments in a whole range of projects across the country’s coastline.

“However, these developments, and indeed coastal development in general must be balanced with a need to ensure the health and integrity of our coastal and oceanic resources.

“Our oceans are under threat from pollution both from land based activities and sea based activities.

“The entire oceanic ecosystem is exposed to a wide range of pollution sources, such as illegal dumping practices, spillages from ships, waste disposal from port dredging operations to mining operations, and the discharge of sewage and storm water agricultural run-off and litter from land based sources.”

This he said, was despite the existence of stringent rules and regulations for all of the pollutants finding their way into the seas.

Dr Share said a sectoral approach was necessary to find a way to manage the waste streams and a “waste Phakisa” was on the cards to address the issue.

For his full remarks (about 4 minutes) Click Here.

We are here to learn: Indonesia government official

The Port Elizabeth 2017 conference has attracted attention from several countries across the world, with representations from both Africa, Oceana, the US as well as European countries including Norway.

Indonesia deputy Minister for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Dr Satri Burhanuddin said his country delegation was attending the conference to learn about what solutions Africa might come up with that would be useful in his country for implementation.

“Africa is more like Indonesia. The middle class is growing and growing and so we actually face the same problem. So we want to learn also how Africa faces this problem.”

For Dr Burhanuddin’s remarks (about 2 minutes) Click Here

More coverage of the conference in next few days…

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