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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
Engaging Africa’s young people as crusaders in the global war against the menace of oceans and inland waterways plastic pollution takes on a whole new stride forward in South Africa with the launch of the continent’s first African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) in Port Elizabeth on Monday
The launch of the initiative at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) north campus from 9am on Monday is a culmination of a partnership involving local non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) and the Norwegian government, marked earlier in 2018 with the set up in Port Elizabeth of an African Marine Waste Academy.
According to the SST, South Africa’s lead partner of the Africa Marine Waste Network with 42 member countries, the youth network “will enable the youth of Africa to communicate and inspire one another and engage with young people everywhere as well as influence adults, especially leaders.”
As an indication of the high significance of the launch of the AYWN initiative, billed guests include senior South African and Norwegian government officials, among them South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Derek Hanekom, his Norwegian counterpart responsible for the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa councillor, Dr Karl Klingsheim, academics from the Nelson Mandela University and Norway’s University of Bergen.
Also attending will be Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, Mr Mongameli Bobani.
Minister Hanekom is billed to share the South African government’s viewpoint on both the scourge of plastic pollution as well as its endorsement of the engagement of young people in the global initiative, while Minister Nybø will share experiences and best practices in thwarting plastic pollution particularly from the marine environment from Norway’s perspective.
For more information on the SST/AMWN and Norwegian government initiatives in the South Africa based war against particularly marine plastic waste, click on the set of stories below.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.
South Africa’s multi-billions rand worth maritime economic sector presents business opportunities far fewer investors globally are willing to ignore, the least among these being Norwegians, who through both their government and independent institutions, are firming their bilateral relations with the country.
This becomes evident yet again last this month when the Scandinavian country – with long experience in oceans economy and globally respected expertise on matters marine and maritime – joins the South African government in staging a week-long “Science Week” beginning on October 31 in Pretoria and winding down in Cape Town five days later.
Themed: “South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016”, the event – a first of its kind driven by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Centre of International Cooperation in Education, and supported in South Africa by a host of Government departments and institutions led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) – is billed as aimed at creating opportunity for further sharing more intensively, information on the many opportunities presented by South Africa’s oceans economy.
In a statement recently, according to ‘Team Norway’ – a Norwegian group comprising the Research Council of Norway, Norwegian Centre for International Co-operation in Education, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria – the event “aims to explore opportunities for cooperation in education, research and new business development.”
The group states that the event is a result of and seeks to cement already well established relations between Norway and South Africa dating back to the ‘pre-freedom years when Norway actively supported opposition to the apartheid regime.
“The 1990s initiated an era of co-operation in higher education and research (and) since 2002, bilateral research programmes have provided support for 86 projects, of which 19 are still active,” it says, adding that annual high consultations between the two countries focus on areas of common economic and political interest, including the SANCOOP programme for research on climate change, environmental and renewable energy.
In addition, focus of the annual bilateral meetings between South Africa and Norway at Ministerial level have increasingly focused on areas for co-operation on South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.
The latter co-operation has since culminated in among others, the Norwegians in 2016 entering into a partnership with the Port Elizabeth-based Nelson Mandela University where they ploughed some R50-million over five years in a new academic centre to fight against illegal fishing in South Africa.
During 2016, the Norwegians were also part of a gathering of some of the country’s maritime economic sector role-players in Port Elizabeth working on a strategy for an anticipated rollout of a South African national maritime cluster.
Later this month, they will again be joining South Africans to look at and share experiences related to the country’s opportunities and challenges with regards the ocean space over the next 10 years.
The discussion in plenary sessions will focus on among key issues; an ‘overview and strategic context to the blue economy’ dealing specifically with global trends and national strategies related to benefits of expanding bilateral cooperation in education, research, innovation and business development.
Also in focus will be South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) and how the Norwegians could contribute in its further development and advancement.
Related will be focus on global success stories and new funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers and related.
Over 200 guests are already confirmed as attending the Science Week in Pretoria and Cape Town, among these being dozens of academics, specialists and innovators in the global oceans space from several universities, research institutions and business sectors in South Africa, France, and a few others countries.
Also key participants from South Africa are Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor; National Research Foundation executive director, Dr Aldo Stroebel; The Innovation Hub CEO, Mr McLean Sibanda; South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi and others.
From Norway the delegation is expected to include Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Tone Skogen; Research Council of Norway director-general, Mr Arvid Hallén, Innovation Norway director of Regions and Financing, Mr Per Niederbach; SINTEF executive Dr Karl Almås, and several others.
The South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016 begins at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria on October 31 and wraps up in Cape Town on Friday, November 4, 2016 with excursions of the Western Cape by various interest groups that may involve focused seminars, workshops and network opportunities.
For more information on the event, and an online platform to register for attendance, please Click Here.
A week ago Tuesday, more than 200 people from South Africa and Norway’s maritime economic sector gathered in a conference room of the Dolphin’s Leap leisure and entertainment centre on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront to share ideas towards a possibly suitable strategy for establishment of a national maritime economic sector cluster for South Africa.
Among them were senior government officials inclusive of the Department of Environmental Affairs – the lead State department on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology; thought leaders from academic institutions including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, researchers from independent institutions and industry leaders in the country’s maritime economic sector.
Also present were provincial Eastern Cape government authorities, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Council as well as local business leaders inclusive of members of both the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Durban maritime clusters.
Discussions at the forum took two forms; themed speeches and panel discussions interspersed by questions and answers from attendees,
A week ago this blog highlighted some of the key issues raised and discussed, and in this report (because you do not have two days of time to listen to it all!) we present you a virtual experience of discussions of some of the issues in audio and video formats.
To take you back to some of interesting topics covered, Click Here
Norway to help set up a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth: 06 June 2016
South Africa’s battle against illegal fishing on its oceans is to receive a further boost in Port Elizabeth today where the Norwegian government will formally sign a bilateral agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) for the establishment of a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy – to be known as a FISHFORCE.
The agreement signing later this afternoon was confirmed by Norwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Tine Skymoen at the start of a two day seminar at the coastal city on the establishment of a national maritime cluster for South Africa to support the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme.
The seminar that began early Monday and is scheduled to end on Tuesday afternoon, involves a number of thought leaders on maritime economic development from South Africa and Norway.
The list of participants include Prof Malek Pourzanjani, CEO, South African International Maritime Institute; Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General, Department of Environmental Affairs; Mr Dumisani Ntuli, Department of Transport; Mr Howard Theunissen (Faculty of Engineering, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), Dr Yona Seleti, Chief Director, Department of Science and Technology; Mr Collins Makhado (South African Maritime Safety Authority)
Also on the list are Professor Mike Morris (University of Cape Town PRISM), Professor Justin Barnes (BMA), Mr Peter Myles (NMMC); Prof Nick Binedell (Strategy, GIBS), Mr Mthozami Xiphu of SAOGA, Mr Mike Hawes of SAAR, Ms Vanessa Davidson of MIASA, Mr Louis Gontier of AIMENA and Mr Sobantu Tilayi Acting CEO, SAMSA.
From Norway the list includes Ms Anne Lene Dale, Director for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ing Alf Egil Jense, (Science & Technology Counsellor, Dr Aase Kaurin (Research Council) Mr Svein Fjose, (Menon Economic), and Dr Kristin Wallevik, (Dean, University of Agder).
With the theme of the two-day seminar at the Dolphin’s Leap Conference and Events Centre in Humewood given as “Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy – Exploring opportunities towards a national maritime cluster”; over two days the group will share ideas and thrash out possible strategies for development of coordinated multi-stakeholder structures to help advance South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme.
In her brief remarks during the opening of the seminar, Ms Skymoen said whenever Norwegian and South African politians and officials met, the Blue Economy and Operation Phakisa were always on top of the agenda and on the basis of which much high level cooperation had developed.
The support to be offered South Africa through FISHFORCE, she said was deriving from this. She described the initiative with the NMMU “as a contribution towards fighting fisheries crime. “
“We will this afternoon sign a bilateral agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on support to the establishment of a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy at NMMU, called FISHFORCE.
“Through FISHFORCE we will be able to more successfully investigate and prosecute criminals engaged in fisheries crime. This will benefit not only South Africa, but the region and eventually also beyond the continent.”
According to Ms Skymoen, 70% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans, with South Africa and Norway sharing a few commonalities in terms of their geographic positioning as largely maritime countries.
“The Oceans are a vital source of resources and wealth, but we take much less use of them than one might expect their size.
“Internationally, though, there is a growing awareness that the oceans, if managed sensible, represent immense resource wealth and offer potential for economic growth, employment innovation and food security,” she said.
She said the potential for growth was huge as according to the OECD, the blue economy could double by 2030 reaching over three trillion US dollars, with much of that growth projected in subsectors that include acquaculture, offshore wind, fish processing and shipbuilding and repairs.
“Blue economies are fundamental for Africa’s development and prosperity. Thirty nine (39) countries have a combined coastline of more than 47 000km, More than 90% of Africa’s trade is seaborne. Fishing contributes to the food security for more than 200 million Africans. Vast oil and gas potential lies off the coast. In order to unlock the potential, African countries need to develop ocean industries by advancing the role of the private sector and regional integration,” said Ms Skymoen.