Oman to unveil vision for new Ocean Economy

Conrad Prabhu –
Muscat, FEB 6 –
Luminaries and thought-leaders from the worlds of science, technology, sustainability and the blue economy are among a distinguished roster of speakers due to offer their enlightened perspectives at the ‘Ocean Economy and Future Technology’ (OEFT) conference set to take place here next week.
The two-day conference and exhibition, due to open at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre on February 11, 2019, is designed to help the Sultanate unlock the multi-billion dollar investment potential of the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean lapping its shores.
Billed as the most important forum of critical importance to the nation’s long-term economic development, this groundbreaking conference seeks to provide representatives of so-called ‘ocean businesses’, as well as local and international investors and decision-makers, with the informational wherewithal necessary to drive investment in harnessing the potential of the Ocean Economy (also called the ‘Blue Economy).
The Sultanate’s vision for developing a Blue Economy encompasses opportunities in Fisheries, Aquaculture, Logistics/Shipping, Offshore Oil and Gas, Offshore Renewable Energy and Marine Mining.
Each of these sectors, according to the organisers, will be the focus of special sessions and workshops where international experts will be on hand to chart strategies for each sector and help identify specific investment and development opportunities. B2B meetings planned on the sidelines will help connect potential investors with partners in the delivery of some of these initiatives.
Over the course of the content-rich two-day forum, one of the highest-profile gatherings of international experts will present on a wide spectrum of themes relevant to the Ocean Economy. Among the keynote speakers is Abdulsalam al Murshidi, Executive President of the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), the largest sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman.
The distinguished roster of speakers also includes Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary General Special Envoy for the Ocean. Ambassador Thomson is leading the UN’s advocacy and public outreach efforts inside and outside of the UN system, ensuring that the many positive outcomes of The Ocean Conference held in 2017, are fully implemented. He is also working with civil society, the scientific community, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders, to coalesce and encourage their activities in support of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. SDG 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, calls for action to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Other presenters include Paul Holthus, Founding President & CEO — World Ocean Council; Gunter Pauli, Entrepreneur & Author of The Blue Economy; Atsushi Sunami, President — Ocean Policy Research at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation; and Peter Gluckman, Founding Chair —International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA).
Partnering Oman in the delivery of a successful conference is the World Ocean Council (WOC) — ‘The Global Blue Economy Business Organization’. The WOC is the only international, cross-sectoral alliance for private sector leadership and collaboration in ocean sustainability, stewardship and science. A not-for-profit organisation, WOC oversees a network of over 35,000 ocean industry stakeholders around the world.
“The World Ocean Council is honoured to work with Oman to organise the OEFT and follow up Ocean Economy efforts, in support of business development, investment and innovation to advance ocean sustainable development,” the Council said in a statement.,
“Oman is seeking ocean industry and investment partners to work with its commitment of substantial in-country investment capital to advance ocean sustainable development of the country’s ocean economic potential, and has engaged the World Ocean Council in its effort,” it further noted.
Developing an Ocean Economy will help sustain Oman’s economic diversification goals, according to the Council, citing the Sultanate’s geographical location as a coastal nation, lengthy coastline and extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“The OEFT Conference is part of Oman’s implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,” it stated.