Blue Economy



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Capacity building

The importance of capacity building on the role of youth in the blue economy in african sids.

Lessons from the Knowledge Sharing Forum

13 DEC 2022

Increase work in capacity building. Inclusive and diversified finance mechanisms. Awareness raising. Policy alignment. These Priority Actions concluded the online Knowledge Sharing Forum (KSF) on the role of youth in the blue economy in African Small Island Developing Countries (SIDS).

Knowledge Sharing Forum

From November 13-16, ITC-ILO and ILO, in collaboration with WWF and the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, organized a three-day Knowledge Sharing Forum aimed primarily at decision-makers from African SIDS and interested youth.

The importance of these topics for the ILO

As such, the ITC-ILO and ILO consider this forum to be the first of its kind to pave the way for further concrete actions.

Participants endorsed capacity building as a cornerstone for promoting the role of youth in the blue economy in African SIDS.

These include several modalities in which decision-makers should work to promote and expand the role of youth in the blue economy. It could include various dimensions, from online knowledge-sharing forums aimed at decision-makers, such as this one, to even materials for young professionals and youth.

This goes hand in hand with awareness raising. If there is no awareness of the importance of the blue economy or how young people can contribute, there will be less demand from both civil society and young people to act for a sustainable blue economy.

Then, what is youth’s role?

Youth in African SISD are disproportionately affected by climate change due to many factors such as their high exposure and vulnerability to climate hazards, their strong dependency to natural resources, limited access to resources such as finances and information, lack of alternative livelihoods and incomes; among other.

Here are three main areas where their involvement can have the greatest impact:

  1. Innovation, science and entrepreneurship: It is believed that youth are at the forefront of driving innovative solutions to address the challenges by bringing fresh perspectives, creative thinking, and technological expertise that are essential for finding new solutions to complex problems.
  2. Advocacy, policy and awareness: Youth input and participation in advocacy efforts can help raise awareness among their peers, communities, and stakeholders about the importance of the blue economy and the need for sustainable practices in marine resource utilization and management.
  3. Knowledge exchange and collaboration and building, and fostering partnerships: By actively engaging in networking events, conferences, and forums, youth can connect with like-minded individuals and organizations working towards similar goals. Through these partnerships, youth can collaborate on projects, share resources and expertise, and leverage collective efforts to drive positive change in the Blue Economy.


The KSF provide the importunity for:

  • 17 participants from the 7 African SIDS, with a majority from Comoros (8 participants).
  • 23 were decision-makers not living in the 7 African SIDS but working there. Especially from Madagascar with 11 participants.
  • 11 were interested youth (under 35).
  • Decision-makers were from the following sectors:
    • UN-office and development aid: 10
    • Governmental: 14
    • Academia: 10
    • Private sector: 5
    • NGO: 3

The maximum number of participants accepted was 42, in order to provide sufficient time and resources for each participant.

Accessible finance mechanism

One of the main messages of the forum was that young people must have access to financing. This not only means that they should be considered access to them as a mere formality, but that they should be considered serious candidates to obtain it. Most of the actions of young people in the blue economy arise from innovative ideas that need funding, such as the numerous entrepreneurship options. Similarly, some ideas need technological resources to implement them. All the potential and the roles they could play could not be achieved to their full potential without institutions and funding mechanisms that qualify them as suitable candidates to receive them.

In the word of the participants
What is next?

ITCILO and ILO will continue working in the region on different fronts.

Faycal Boureima, Technical Specialist, Blue Economy and Green Jobs at ILO, considers that the development of the social dimension of blue economy in Island States could be a unique opportunity to improve youth employment and sustainable entrepreneurship. To make this happen, we need to create the enabling environment for the creation and the promotion of decent work   for young women and men in the blue economy and to enhance their resilience to climate shocks.” 

Diego Portugal Del Pino, associate programme officer from the ITCILO believes that capacity building should be accessible to young people. The impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss greatly affect the most vulnerable sectors of society and therefore these resources must be accessible to them in some way. For this reason, we will continue to work to ensure that countries and donors support the promotion and expansion of capacity building programs to the most vulnerable sectors such as youth.

Stay tuned

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