The Centre for Maritime Law and Security (CEMLAWS) Africa is banking its hopes on government for the immediate endorsement of the National Integrated Maritime Strategy (NIMS), to give way for its implementation which can help Ghana enhance her fortunes in the Maritime sector.
Likewise, a Maritime Law Consultant and Legal Practitioner at Alliance Partners, Dr. Kofi Mbiah says that political will is of utmost importance to the sustainability of the National Integrated Maritime Strategy.
Dr. Mbiah said, “Political will is critical. This plan can be put in a glossy document with all the fine details but if we don’t execute for the rational expected outcome, then it will be an exercise in futility.”
“If you followed the International Maritime Exhibition and Defence Conference, the Vice President was the Guest of Honour there, and he said government is going to endorse the NIMS. So, I am optimistic. I believe the government knows the importance of the blue economy to the general economy,” a fellow at CEMLAWS Africa, Godfred-Sowah Khartey added.
These remarks were made while expatiating on the benefits of the NIMS on the Eye on Port live programme.
The National Integrated Maritime Strategy is a document that serves as a consolidated framework for the maritime domain to promote sustainability and security of Ghana’s blue economy.
A key outcome of the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), the NIMS, was developed by an inter-agency maritime working group with technical support from the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa (CEMLAWS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with funding from the Kingdom of Denmark.
The officials from CEMLAWS Africa revealed that, implementation of the strategy hinged on six strategic objectives.
These include the strengthening of the framework for maritime governance, ensuring the safety and security for Ghana’s maritime domain, developing a thriving blue economy, protecting marine and coastal environment, promoting capacity building, research, awareness, and knowledge sharing in the maritime domain, and the development of a dynamic and diversified regional and international cooperation.
A Fellow at CEMLAWS Africa, Godfred Sowah Khartey said, the NIMS takes into consideration piracy and armed robbery at sea, marine conservation, IUU fishing, and the livelihood of coastal communities.
Mr. Khartey explained that, “just as we identify the challenges emerging from ocean activities, so do we identify its prospects. The NIMS wants to get the blue economy running. Because with a thriving blue economy, jobs are created, poverty is eliminated, and crime such as piracy is reduced.”
He said implementation of the National Integrated Maritime Strategy will be done in a bottom-up approach, encapsulating all necessary parties including people living in the coastal communities.
His counterpart, Stephanie Lolk Larsen, a Research Officer at CEMLAWS, also disclosed that a key objective of the NIMS is to promote inter-agency approach.
“There are so many players and stakeholders within Ghana’s maritime industry. One of the central points is to create a way of harmonising their mandates and ways of operating to achieve the objectives of the NIMS.”
She vouched for the practicability of the strategy, stating that accountability will be at the heart of implementation.
Maritime Law Consultant and Legal Practitioner at Alliance Partners, Dr. Kofi Mbiah praised the comprehensiveness of the NIMS and highlighted the significance of integration in its implementation.
“In the blue economy, you have fisheries, oil and gas, tourism, commercial shipping, port services and at the same time there is the issue of protection of marine life, and security of the marine environment. It is important for this strategy to take into consideration all these focal points so that we can draw synergies from the complementarities that exist,” the maritime expert advised.
He also propounded the importance of regional collaboration for the success of the NIMS in maritime security and ocean governance.
Dr. Mbiah called for the establishment of a defined legal framework that would complement the administrative and operational roles of the various organizations to avoid overlaps or gaps during the implementation of the NIMS.