International forum-Charting course for a sea change
International forum underway in Xiamen puts the focus on sustainable development of the marine economy
The much anticipated 2018 Xiamen International Ocean Forum was held on Nov 2, 2018, with government officials from different countries and many prestigious scholars gathering to discuss how to develop the marine industry in a sustainable manner.
The forum also signaled the start of World Ocean Week in Xiamen 2018, which runs until Nov 8 with the theme of "All Together for a Shared Sustainable Ocean".
A sustainable development of the ocean is a very important part of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is also one of the core agendas in the field of international maritime cooperation, Zhang Zhi, director-general of Department of International Cooperation Ministry of National Resources of China, said at the opening ceremony of the Ocean Forum.
The theme of this year's World Ocean Week also fits perfectly with the nation's call for environmental protection and greater awareness of the waters and mountains as invaluable assets, Zhang said.
China's marine economy has continuously grown in size and the Chinese government has paid more attention to the sustainable development of the marine economy in recent years, actively advocating the concept of integrated marine management and the construction of a marine ecological civilization.
In 2017, the county's marine GDP reached 7.76 trillion yuan ($1.13 trillion), an increase of 6.9 percent from a year ago. The scale of the national marine economy in 2017 was almost double the size it was in 2010.
China's marine GDP accounts for 9.4 percent of the nation's total GDP, and it creates 36.57 million jobs.
Looking to the future, China will cooperate with countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and make contributions to achieve the common goal of realizing harmonious, healthy and sustainable marine development, said Zhang.
Frederic Loua, Guinea's minister of fisheries and maritime economy, told the forum that his country's economic cooperation with China, particularly in fishery, has achieved remarkable results.
He mentioned that more than 90 percent of fishing boats in Guinea are Chinese and most of the country's marine products are exported to China. The minister also said that he is very proud of the bio-diversity of the marine resources for its fishery development.
Loua said that Guinea has an important role to play in China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and that by stepping up the multilateral cooperation, countries can rejuvenate and inject energy into a sustainable "blue economy".
The minister stressed that some parts of the world are still threatened by starvation, and by developing the blue economy it would help address the problem.
Thamasak Yeemin, president of the Association of Marine Scientists of Thailand, told the forum that Thailand is going to continue to develop the marine economy, and this offers a good opportunity to work closely with China.
"We can work together in several aspects for blue economy, including marine products, marine culture and marine tourism, as well as all the maritime activities," said Yeemin.
Aimee Gonzales, executive director of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), told the forum that the coasts and ocean in East Asia have huge value.
Covering 7 million square kilometers and 234,000 kilometers of coastline, the seas of East Asia are some of the most ecologically and economically important sea areas in the world.
The region is home to over one third of all coral-reefs and mangroves and has the highest levels of biodiversity for coral reef fish, mollusks, mangroves and sea grass species.
The region accounts for 83 percent of the world aquaculture products and over 32 million metric tons of annual fish catch, she said, pointing out that economic growth has come at a cost to the ecosystems on which the costs and ocean depends.
She stressed that the mission of PEMSEA is to foster and sustain healthy and resilient coasts and oceans communities and economies across the seas of East Asia through integrated management solutions and partnerships.
China has done a lot to promote sustainable development of the marine economy, in terms of reverting the effects of climate change, promoting biodiversity in reservation, and preserving habitats, and it has done a lot to solve marine pollution, Gonzales told China Daily.
"I think what China has to do is to share this knowledge and the expertise outside of the region and with the rest of the world," Gonzales said.
(China Daily 11/05/2018 page17)
(Source_title：Charting course for a sea change)