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Nordic Week: Ambassadors Share Insights on Sustainable Blue Economy Practices

The Nordic country ambassador emphasized on cooperation and proper regulation to ensure sustainble use or marine resources

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Zanzibar. Ambassadors from Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden shared their experiences on sustainable blue economy practices, drawing from their efforts in the Baltic Sea.

This took place during a Zanzibar-Finland collaboration workshop on sustainable blue economy, held at the Secret Garden restaurant in Zanzibar. The event was part of the annual Nordic Week, which ran from May 27 to May 31, 2024, highlighting the collaboration between Nordic countries and Tanzania in sustainable development.

Speaking at the workshop, the Ambassador of Finland to Tanzania, Theresa Zitting, emphasized the importance of planning to ensure the sustainable use of marine resources.

 “While Finland is popularly known as a land of a thousand lakes, we also have a coastal area through the Baltic Sea. Since the sixties, we have had plans for the coastal area; any new building needs to adhere to those plans,” explained Ambassador Zitting.

Several experts from Zanzibar’s blue economy sector discussed the challenges they face in ensuring sustainability, particularly due to competing interests in fishing, seaweed farming, and tourism along the coast.

“One of the challenges we are facing is the competing interest within the marine sector; you have many people needing the same resources, from farmers and fishermen to hotels,” said Sheha Mjaja Juma, Director of the Zanzibar Environment Management Authority.

In response, Ambassador Zitting stressed the importance of regulation and decision-making to ensure the sustainable use of marine resources.

Ambassador Charlotta Ozaki Macias of Sweden highlighted the need for international cooperation, especially among countries sharing marine resources.

“We have a long tradition of cooperation on marine spatial planning in the Baltic Sea,” she explained, using this as a model to suggest cooperation between countries that shares the Indian Ocean coast.

Ambassador Tone Tinnes of Norway echoed the importance of regulation, noting Norway’s experiences in aquaculture. “In Norway, we have also experienced some feuds in aquaculture; this is why it’s important to regulate,” she said.

About two-thirds of Zanzibar’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is directly connected to the Blue Economy (BE), with nearly 99% of its international trade by volume being seaborne.

Zanzibar’s blue economy strategy focuses on four priority areas: fisheries, aquaculture, maritime trade and infrastructure, offshore renewable energy and oil & gas development, and sustainable tourism. Nordic countries continue to support this strategy through research, aiding seaweed farmers, environmental management along the coast, and supporting fishermen in Zanzibar.

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