Cyprus Mail

Cyprus leads in sustainable aquaculture, says commonwealth secretary-general

shipping minister
Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis

Under the Commonwealth Blue Charter, Cyprus is the champion country for Sustainable Aquaculture, stated Patricia Scotland, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, on Friday.

She noted that the Commonwealth has the collective power to take a leadership role in actions towards a sustainable ocean that supports the needs of all people, regardless of gender, culture, age or geography.

Speaking at a press conference following the conclusion of the first Commonwealth Ocean Ministers Meeting held in Paphos, she thanked the Republic of Cyprus for hosting the meeting, which was attended by Ministers and officials from 28 Commonwealth countries and 12 observer organisations.

Responding to a question, she mentioned that many have been inspired by Cyprus and referenced aquaculture, stating that it is something that has been developed and pursued by the private sector. She indicated that it has been conveyed that 80% of the fish cultivated here in Cyprus comes from aquaculture, which, according to one Minister, is “very tasty.” Therefore, she said, this offers entrepreneurial opportunities for many.

Marina Hadjimanolis, the Deputy Minister of Shipping, characterised today as a historic moment for everyone, especially for Cyprus, noting that it was an honour for Cyprus to host such an important meeting. Responding to a question, she said that Cyprus has best practices that it can transmit to other countries in technology and science related to the oceans.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General noted that a three-year memorandum of understanding was signed between the Commonwealth, the Ministry of Shipping of Cyprus, and the Cyprus Institute of Marine and Maritime Research to establish a Centre of Excellence for the Blue Charter. The Centre of Excellence, she said, will provide support and expertise in policy-making to assist the Commonwealth and other island and coastal countries on issues such as the management, protection, and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems, the prevention and elimination of marine pollution, and the sustainable use of living marine resources.

According to the Commonwealth Blue Charter, she said, Cyprus is the champion country for Sustainable Aquaculture. She said that the Commonwealth has paved the way for access to financing for ocean-related and other climate issues through the Commonwealth Climate Finance Hub.

“However, we know that Commonwealth countries increasingly need to leverage science for fair and equitable solutions to our ocean challenges. However, access to marine knowledge and scientific capacity is unevenly distributed,” she said.

Therefore, she added, Cyprus’s offer to establish a Centre of Excellence for the Blue Charter is so welcome.

“This emphasis on governance for a sustainable blue economy, sustainable aquaculture, marine research, development, and innovation will help in the equality of competition terms.”

The Commonwealth Secretary-General said that exactly six years have passed since the Heads of Government adopted the Commonwealth Blue Charter, a commitment of Commonwealth countries to work together to address ocean issues and take action to protect the ocean. This commitment, she said, was reaffirmed in 2022 when Heads of Government met in Rwanda and agreed to draft a Commonwealth Ocean Declaration.

She added that during the conference in Cyprus, Ministers discussed a framework and a roadmap for the Declaration, expressing hope that it would be adopted by leaders at the next meeting in Samoa in October of this year, while she said they confirmed the importance of collaboration, ambitious actions, and the need for funding initiatives for the oceans.

She said that several delegations spoke today about their concerns regarding rising sea levels and the need to recognise the permanence of maritime borders.

In addition, she mentioned the various challenges related to the oceans, pointing out that no country can solve these challenges alone.

In conclusion, she said that they look forward to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa in October, where the emphasis will be on resilience.”

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