Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, also known as PURE GRENADA, Island of Spice.
I am delighted that so many of you could join us for this Blue Week. This week marks an important turning point for oceans, blue growth and food security. Rather than just talking about the issues, you are taking action on oceans.
You have put forward 170 projects — 45 of which are seeking over $100 million in total funding.
Around 20 of these projects will be featured at the Shark Tanks and we commend you for this novel approach to developing partnerships. We wish you well as you work towards new partnerships, investments and advisory support.
Together, these will help you to “move the needle on ocean health and wealth,” with benefits for coastal communities around the world.
We see this meeting in Grenada as an important stepping stone, within a broader Blue Campaign, as we head towards the review of SDG #14 in Fiji next year.
For our part in Grenada, we are seeking to develop our nation as a standard for sustainability.
We are therefore delighted to be part of this campaign and part of the Blue Growth Network. This initiative grew out of the Global Ocean Action Summit organized by the Dutch Government and hosted in The Hague in 2014.
I was pleased to attend that meeting and to sign an agreement for Blue Grenada with the Dutch Government.
This work, together with our cooperation with TNC and the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, is helping Grenada to develop its natural capital and its blue economy.
We are announcing a blue policy package and we have already committed to conserving 25% of our near-shore marine resources. Moreover, we have developed a draft coastal master plan. This draft plan has identified blue economy clusters from Petit Martinique in the North to Point Salines in the South.
Investment options valued at over $1 billion dollars have been proposed. This covers pollution management, fisheries, marine protected areas, coastal resilience, coastal communities, and coastal and marine tourism activities, amongst others. Consultations with stakeholder groups are ongoing, as well as engagement with the private sector.
To give permanence to these ideas, I am pleased to announce that we are developing a Blue Innovation Institute as a global centre of excellence. We invite you to be part of this success story going forward. Let us work together to build the Blue Network and the Blue Innovation Institute. Let us develop innovative blue financial instruments that build natural capital. Our efforts can help improve prosperity for coastal communities around the world, including those on island nations, such as Grenada.
I very much wish that I could have been with you this morning, however, due to urgent travel for matters of national and regional importance, I am unable to join you.
In closing, I wish to thank, in particular, the Government of the Netherlands for their tremendous support and their global leadership on this agenda. I also want to thank the many people and organizations that have contributed to the preparation of this conference.
All the best in your deliberations. Let us deliver action for ocean health and food security and for blue economies around the world.
Before you leave, be sure to visit the many beautiful sites around Grenada.
I thank you.