On November 8th, UNDP’s Blue Resilience Project Manager boarded the marine science vessel Statsraad Lehmkuhl in Willemstadt, Curacao, to sail to Jamaica with the One Ocean Expedition. Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a 107-year-old 98-meter-long tall ship sailing under Norwegian flag. It set sail from Norway on the 20th of August and will circumnavigate the globe, creating awareness and sharing knowledge about the ocean´s crucial role for a sustainable future. UNDP Blue Resilience is an official supporter of the One Ocean Expedition, part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, towards enhancing visibility, awareness-raising and global promotion of UNDP’s Blue Resilience project and the Blue Justice Initiative (BJI).
On the leg to Kingston, Jamaica, UNDP’s Blue Resilience Project Manager Emma Witbooi engaged with visiting academics and international students on board on fisheries crime and the Blue Justice Initiative, particularly the value of engaging scientific research and findings in support of policy and technical efforts to address crime in the fisheries sector. Dr. Witbooi also held an interactive lecture to on board on the topic. This was followed by a discussion.
The Statsraad Lehmkuhl called at Port Royal Naval Dockyard in Kingston from November 13-17. Two high level receptions were held on board, hosted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Havana and the Norwegian Seafood Council. In attendance were public state officials, members of the diplomatic corps, UN organisations and the private sector. Further, representatives of NGOs, port authorities, academia, students, the captain and senior crew from Statsraad Lehmkuhl, as well as Al Jazeera and local press attended.
At both receptions, an audio-visual presentation of UNDP’s Blue Resilience Project and the BJI were screened and UNDP’s Dr. Witbooi was on hand to discuss the importance of addressing criminal activity in the fisheries sector due to its damaging security and economic impacts, as well as environmental and social effects. UNDP Blue Resilience/BJI promotional material was also distributed.
The receptions featured a video message from the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, as well as remarks by the Norwegian Ambassador-designate to Jamaica, Beate Stirø, both of whom highlighted the role of the BJI and UNDP’s Blue Resilience project in supporting efforts towards a sustainable blue economy free from fisheries crime. In addition, each event was addressed by a Jamaican dignitary: at the November 13th reception the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Hon Mrs Kamina Johnson Smith underscored the importance and strength of Norwegian-Jamaican ties, including accessing opportunities thereunder towards sustainable use of the oceans. At the reception of November 17th, H.E the Hon Senator Leslie Campbell, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Sherpa for Jamaica, High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, addressed the attendees.
In Jamaica, the UNDP’s Dr. Witbooi engaged in a number of consultations, discussing fisheries crime and presenting support on offer towards addressing the problem under the Blue Resilience project to various stakeholders. This is particularly apt timing given that Jamaica signed the Copenhagen Declaration against Transnational Crime in the Global Fishing Industry at a regional CRFM-hosted Ministerial meeting in October this year. Engagements included, among others, with Jamaican government representatives, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Global Affairs, University of the West Indies, Mona (where the MoU between UWI and UNDP on promoting the Blue Economy in the Caribbean was discussed) and various national and regional UN representatives. Meetings were also held with colleagues from UNDP’s Jamaica Multi Country Office. The Multi Country Office is working together with the Blue Resilience team and the Blue Justice Initiative Secretariat to facilitate a high-level Country Dialogue, designed to support Jamaica in operationalizing the Copenhagen Declaration and UNDP’s Blue Resilience project.
Stay tuned for more updates on UNDP Blue Resilience engagement with Jamaica as well as on planned Blue Resilience/Blue Justice Initiative events and activities with partners along the Lehmkuhl’s route
Learn more about the activities of the One Ocean Expedition while in Kingston here.