Norway ups financial support against illegal fishing and plastic waste in Africa. Nelson Mandela University rakes in R1-million more

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SEALING COLLABORATION: (From Left) Mr Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Iselin Nybø, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, and Dr Anthony Ribbink, CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust and member of the African Marine Waste Network during the signing of cooperation agreement in Port Elizabeth on Monday, 29 October 2018.

Port Elizabeth: 01 November 2018

The development of a cadre of knowledgeable personnel with high expertise in the management of illegal fishing in South Africa and in the rest of the continent has been given a further boost with the allocation of an additional financial support of about R1-million by the Norwegian government.

The additional funding confirmed earlier this week will go to the Nelson Mandela University (NMU)’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy (a.k.a FISHFORCE) established in 2016.

The academy was set up at the NMU through a R50-million financial support, over five years, by Norway with the goal of establishing a core of graduates with knowledge and expertise in the management of illegal fishing as well as contribute to development of effective strategies.

On Monday, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø in the company of South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom; visited the NMU for the signing of a bilateral agreement cognizant of the additional R1-million funding.

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Mr Alf Yngve Friiso, Counsel: Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa

Ahead of the signing ceremony, during the launch of an African Youth Waste Network early on Monday, Mr Alf Yngve Frisso, Counselor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa said the additional funding would go towards training of port security officers – a category of key personnel that was not covered in the initial funding bilateral agreement with the NMU.

“These people work 24 hours a day at the ports and a lot of them do not have training in identifying fish species and different types of fishing crimes. The additional funding will go to the NMU FishForce Academy in order to increase and enhance these officials level of knowledge and expertise.” he said.

The beneficiaries of the Norwegian government support would not be limited to South Africans only, but would include other African countries, he said.

For more on this, click on the video below.

Norway commits additional R2.8-million to fight against plastic pollution

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Ms Iselin Nybø, Norwegian Minister of Research & Higher Education

Meanwhile, Ms Nybø (38), on her first visit to South Africa, said collaboration between Norway and South Africa on strategic interventions in oceans management and related endeavors remained important to her government.

Addressing guests attending the launch of the youth network, Ms Nybø said she her government was impressed by both the initiative to rope in youth in the war against plastic waste pollution, as it was by the research, education and training undertaken by the Nelson Mandela University.

On plastic pollution, she said given realistic prospects that there would be more plastic at sea than fish in the near future, and that Africa would become the most polluted area of the world and a major contributor to plastic waste pollution, Norway’s government commitment to efforts to eliminate plastic waste pollution would be demonstrated through a direct investment of some 1.6-million Norwegian krone (R2.8-million) over the next three years.

To listen to Ms Nybø’s full remarks (about 08.20 minutes), please click on the video below.

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2035 the target date to rid Africa of plastic waste filling the oceans!

DSC_4245.JPGPort Elizabeth: 01 November 2018

Seventeen years from now, Africa must be rid of the menace of plastic waste infesting particularly the oceans surrounding it, that is the ambitious target the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) is setting itself in the global war against plastic waste.

That is according to its lead member, the Port Elizabeth based non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust, which this week launched an initiative called the Africa Youth Waste Network to rope in the continent’s youth in the battle against mounting plastic pollution all across Africa.

DSC_8067.JPGThe youth initiative is part of a broader campaign by the SST and AYWN that is financially backed by the Norwegian government and which has already seen the establishment of an African Marine Waste Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay earlier this year.

Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Isebin Nybo together with South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom were among high profile guests in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday for the launch of the youth initiative.

Other guests included local government officials as well as academics from both the Nelson Mandela University as well as Norway’s University of Bergen.

Some scholarly ongoing research findings shared at the event depicted a dire picture of the highly negative impacts of plastic waste, particularly that which enters the African continent’s oceans.

Among the findings was that not only was plastic waste reaching the oceans now at unsustainable levels, but also that certain fish species were already feeding on it and in the process, posing a real and immediate high risk to both human and other creatures lives that feed on fish.

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Dr Anthony Ribbink. CEO: Sustainable Seas Trust

According to (SST) CEO, Dr Anthony Ribbink, time for talking about the pending disaster was over and target dates had to be set for defined action to show results, hence the group has set 2035 as the year on which Africa will be rid of plastic waste and resultant pollution.

Central to the strategy for cleaning up and eventually eliminating plastic waste will be the engagement of particularly youth across the continent through the newly set up network, combining it with ongoing academic research, but also a development of economic opportunities to both manage and get rid of plastic waste.

Key role players will include municipalities across towns and cities of the continent.

According to Dr Ribbink, the first target African city for the major clean up campaign will be Nelson Mandela Bay whose deadline for reaching a zero plastic waste status has been set even more tighter, as 2021.

“We want to make sure that Nelson Mandela Bay becomes the first city in Africa to reach zero plastic waste by 2021 and the local municipal government has committed to the target.”

He also announced that the African Marine Waste Network with 42 members countries across the continent will hold its second conference in April 2020 and during which concrete plans for the rest of the continent will be shared.

In the video below, Dr Ribbink explains the thinking.

Meanwhile,  Ms Alexie Kalenga, coordinator of the AYWN explained the rationale behind the active engagement of especially young people in the Africa war against plastic waste.

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Ms Alexie Kalenga. African Youth Waste Network

She said recent population statistics indicated two critical aspects about Africa’s population: that young people aged between 16 and 25 years hold (225-million as at 2015) constituted about 60% of the continent’s population and about 19% of the world’s population and were therefore the largest majority by far.

But crucially, this figure was projected to almost double to 456-million by 2055, thereby reflecting a rapidly growing population, with huge implications for waste generation and management as, she said, waste accumulation had been proved to be a function of population size.

She said the network was intended to be an active platform for collaboration, resource and knowledge sharing among young people across countries.

“It’s a youth driven initiative that aims at zero pollution and clean seas by 2035.

In the video below, Ms Kalenga shares more detail.

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Nelson Mandela Bay welcomes launch of Africa youth initiative against plastic waste in its backyard

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Port Elizabeth: 31 October 2018

The selection of and launch in Port Elizabeth this week of a continent wide initiative roping in youth into the global war against marine plastic waste has been warmly welcomed by the coastal metropolitan area’s government.

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Ms Yolsa Padi. Member of the Mayoral Council for Public Health. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth)

“The launch of this green programme and network is very good news for the city, ‘ said Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM) Member of the Mayoral Council for Public Health, Ms Yolisa Padi in welcoming the launch of the African Youth Waste Network at the city’s university, the Nelson Mandela University on Monday.

“As our visitors will know, Nelson Mandela Bay has potential as a major tourist destination and a nature lover’s paradise. We are becoming increasingly aware of  our vast marine resources and the need to manage these responsibly, as well as of the economic and other benefits attached to an oceans economy.

“In all this, the cleanliness and attractiveness of our city and environment is vital, not only for the health and safety of our residents, but also because we are keen to build our reputation as a major tourist city and a preferred holiday destination.

The launch of the African Youth Waste Network in the region was, however, consistent with global marine and maritime related recent developments targeting the city, inclusive of the first continental African Marine Waste Conference held in the city in July 2017, followed earlier this year by the launch of the African Marine Waste Academy (AMWA) under the aegis of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) now currently with 42 members across Africa and reportedly growing.

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The initiatives, spearheaded by Port Elizabeth nongovernmental organization, the Sustainable Seas Trust and a founder member of the AMWN are financially sponsored by the Norwegian government which early in 2018 confirmed the awarding of about a R1-million to the programme over a 12 months period.

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Ms Iselin Nybø. Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education during a visit to Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 29 October 2018

A Norwegian government delegation led by Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, was among prominent guests at the function on Monday.

In her brief address, Ms Padi who accompanied the city’s Mayor, Mr Mongameli Bobani, described it as Port Elizabeth’s concern “the alarming news daily of the rate of destruction of the natural environment of our planet and its oceans. Current and future governments have no option but to increasingly focus on environmental protection and find better solutions to the issue of waste management,” she said.

In response however, she said the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for its part, was “engaged in a number of cleaning and waste management initiatives to address this.”

“The going is slow but some of our initiatives are starting to show results and to be of benefit to our communities.

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Mr Mongameli Bobani, Mayor of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Standing, Right) greeting among others, Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom (seated, Left) during the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

“The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality fully supports the launch of the African Youth Waste Network. We know the time to do something is now and it is very right and fitting that the energy, enthusiasm and innovative idea of the youth will be harnessed in the process,” said Ms Padi.

 

For more on the launch of the AYWN, click on the links below.