The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is honoured to be associated with the 5th UNESCO African Engineering week and Engineers’ Conference.

UNESCO’s programmes focus on contributing to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and cultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. This includes the strengthening of science, technology and innovation systems and policies – nationally, regionally and globally and the promotion of international scientific cooperation on critical challenges to sustainable development with an emphasis on Africa and on gender equality as global strategic priorities.

The theme for the African Engineering Week – Harnessing the Blue Economy for Accelerated Growth is particularly relevant to the UNESCO’s Ocean Sciences Programmes. UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) has established a Sub Commission for Africa and the Adjacent Island States (IOCAFRICA) to promote scientific research and understanding of the ocean and coastal environment and resources, and provide the science-base necessary for the development of the Blue Economy in Africa as outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (“The Africa We want”). The African Union’s Agenda 2063, recognizes that ‘Africa’s Oceans, which is three times the size of its landmass, shall be a major contributor to continental transformation and growth, advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport and fishing; and exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea mineral and other resources.” The Sub Commission is implementing a wide range of programmes, including the development of an African Ocean Observations network that focuses on ocean information for human and economic security, oceans and assessments, ocean data and information management, capacity development for marine science and technology, as well as ocean science and policy interface.

UNESCO is also contributing to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which envisages a world in which: consumption and production patterns and the use of all natural resources – from air to land, from rivers, lakes and aquifers to oceans and seas – are sustainable.”, and “…. development and the application of technology are climate sensitive, respect biodiversity and are resilient”. In particular, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission has been tasked by the United Nations General assembly to develop an implementation plan for the UN Decade for Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) which provides a global framework that will ensure Ocean Science can help governments and societies achieve the major goals of our generation. The Decade will provide a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to create a new foundation, across the science-policy interface, to strengthen the management of our oceans and coasts for the benefit of humanity.

UNESCO welcomes all the participants from its Member African Member States to this important continental conference and looks forward to sharing with you our experiences in the field of ocean sciences and the development of the Blue Economy in the region and globally.

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