Degradation Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is alarmed

Degradation of the marine environment remains a critical and urgent issue to address. The Federal Republic of Somalia has the longest national coastline (3025 km) in Africa with an estimated shelf area of 32, 500 km2.  The civil war and constant political problems have affected any progress in combating environmental issues because any institutional management of the ecosystems and biodiversity effectively cease to exist. However, Somalia is a member of PERSGA, a regional organization dedicated to the conservation of the coastal and marines environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is alarmed over the billions of dollars lost annually to unreported, unregulated and illegal fishing. The cost of illegal fishing to Somalia alone is around $300 million annually. It is crucial for Somalia to follow Sustainable Development Goal 14, whose aim is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources; including regulation of overfishing. Somalia has joined FISH-iAfrica, an initiative supported by Pew Charitable Trusts that supervises eight East African countries to stop illegal fishing in the region. The Federal Republic of Somalia proposes stricter laws on fishing licenses and monetary aid from Member States for stronger and more modern ocean surveillance systems to collect and disseminate information about suspicious vessels. Furthermore, “the ocean is in deep trouble…. Marine pollution is taking us to a point where, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there will be fish,” said Peter Thomson, the 71st president of the United Nations General Assembly, in an interview with Africa Renewal. In general, Somalia does not have a recycling program. Therefore used materials like plastic bags and bottles make their way into the oceans. Somalia would benefit hugely from legislations to eliminate single-use plastic products, like the Rwandan Member State which has banned plastic bags. Somalia also suggests programs in local communities for reclassification of plastic pollution (e.g., to hazardous substance to priority pollutant) and mechanisms that incentivize fishers to collect abandoned fishing gear. Somalia is alarmed by this issue and is willing to work with other concerned Member States to protect the sustainable use of the world’s oceans, marine resources and marine life.