Maritime sustainable development in focus

By Sophie He in Xiamen| China Daily| Updated: Nov 5, 2019

Around 300,000 people expected to attend weeklong event in Xiamen, Fujian province

Government officials and renowned scholars gathered in Fujian's coastal city of Xiamen on Nov 1 to attend the 2019 Xiamen International Ocean Forum: the first Forum on Building a Maritime Community with a Shared Future, where they shared views about the maritime community with a shared future.

The forum also kick-started the 2019 World Ocean Week in Xiamen. It runs through Nov 7 and features the theme "Blue Partnership for a Maritime Community with a Shared Future".

More than 60 supporting activities are scheduled for the weeklong event, which is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors.


Left: Xiamen is granted the PEMSEA Leadership Award during the 2019 PNLG Forum on Nov 1. Central and right: Foreign delegates listen to speeches at the forum. Lin Yuyang / For China Daily

About 500 guests from 40 countries and regions attended the 2019 Xiamen International Ocean Forum, a reflection of China's positive attitude and action toward the 2030 sustainable development agenda.

At the opening ceremony of the forum, Xiamen's vice-mayor Zhang Yigong welcomed all guests to the forum and World Ocean Week. He said Xiamen has been a portal for opening-up and international cooperation since ancient times.

Xiamen has been dedicated to developing ocean-related technologies and emerging industries. It spares no effort to secure the city's leading position in developing an ocean economy in Fujian and the entire nation, according to the vice-mayor.

"The ocean is an important platform for us to cooperate in aspects of economics, trade, science and technology. Different governments, enterprises, scientific research institutions and communities are working together to cope with challenges, to share marine development achievements and to conduct policy communications," Wang Hong, chief of the State Oceanic Administration of China, told the forum.

In April, the central authorities proposed an important initiative of building a "maritime community with a shared future". This is fundamental to China's participation in global ocean governance and the core of China's deepening blue partnership with coastal countries, Wang said.

He stressed that China's development cannot be separated from the world. The Chinese government has always valued and appreciated the "blue partners" who respect each other, trust each other and help each other.

"We advocate sharing benefits as well as responsibilities under the principles of mutual respect and mutual assistance. We are willing to share China's solutions and contribute China's strength in blue growth, marine science and technology, personnel training, marine international cooperation and global ocean governance," Wang said.

In Grenada, fishing has been important for local food security since precolonial times, according to Alvin Martin Da Breo, the country's minister of climate resilience, environment, forestry, fisheries, disaster management and information.

He told the forum that Grenada is a small archipelago state located in the southeastern Caribbean with a landmass of roughly 348 square kilometers. However, Grenada has an exclusive economic zone of 24,153 sq km, which is about 70 times that.

"We therefore are exploring the opportunities provided for the sustainable exploitation of our marine resources," said the minister. He added that fisheries are economically important to Grenada, representing approximately 1.5 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

As Grenada strives to develop a "blue economy", it is eager to learn from the experience of its Chinese counterparts in the management and economic development of fisheries and other marine sectors.

"I applaud China's leadership in helping developing countries achieve their full potential.

"This is further evidenced by the fact that last week, Grenada hosted the China-Caribbean conference on the Belt and Road Initiative," the minister said.

Li Dejin, vice-governor of Fujian province, said the forum aims to apply the concepts of a maritime community with a shared future and the BRI.

Li said: "We need to coordinate the developments between land and sea to achieve a harmonious and win-win situation between human and ocean."

The vice-governor said he was glad to see so many experts and scholars gather in Xiamen. Their dialogue on advanced marine development will be beneficial to the development of marine-related emerging industries.

He said that Fujian is a coastal province, so "the ocean sits in the heart of Fujian's history, present and future and is closely connected to Fujian's economic, social and cultural developments".

"Now, marine development has ushered in a new period of strategic opportunities. With unprecedented openness, Fujian will embrace these new opportunities and embark on a new voyage of harmonious development between human and ocean," Li said.



Li Dejin, vice-governor of Fujian province, speaks at the opening ceremony of the 2019 World Ocean Week. Lin Yuyang / For China Daily