COP27: Leaders urged to Scale up Action on the Great Blue Wall Initiative

ADDIS ABABA – Global leaders urged to accelerate action on the Great Blue Wall Initiative (GBW) to preserve western Indian Ocean countries during an Economic Commission for Africa hosted meeting at COP 27.

“All of us here are advocates, promoters, and leaders in the blue space. We have to take on this challenge, and we cannot do it alone; it has got to be a collective effort,” said Wavel Ramkalawan, President of Seychelles, on Tuesday.

The western Indian Ocean provides livelihood opportunities for coastal communities across 10 countries – Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania.

The GBW initiative, an Africa-led effort, aims to create interconnected, protected, and conserved marine areas to counteract the effects of climate change and global warming in the Western Indian Ocean region while unlocking their blue economy’s potential for sustainable development.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champion, emphasized the importance of ocean conservation, noting, “oceans are our biggest ally in the fight of climate action, but, unfortunately, we are compromising this solution by not protecting it.”

Mohieldin said, “Oceans are the world’s largest heat sink; they absorb around 90% of the excess heat caused by climate change; and they are also very efficient carbon sinks, absorbing 23% of human-caused carbon emissions.”

The event, which focused on the nexus of climate change, nature conservation, and the blue economy, showcased the first-of-its-kind impact-driven regional initiative – the GBW – to scale up and accelerate ocean-climate action in Africa.

It also showed how critical international events can be stepping stones towards achieving the GBW objectives; and called on parties and partners for support and partnership.

On way forward for the GBW initiative, Nigel Topping, UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champion, highlighted the need to focus on mobilizing financing for climate projects, regionalizing work, and centering science and rigor to attract investors.

Featured Image Caption: Fishing in the Indian Ocean, Maputo, Mozambique. [Photo: 777Stvolin/Shutterstock]