PAVE calls for Enhanced Ocean Literacy for Sustainable Development
By Faridat Salifu
Anthony Akpan, President of the Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE), passionately highlighted the urgent necessity to bolster ocean literacy among Nigerians, particularly within the framework of the United Nations Ocean Decade.
This imperative, emphasizing the pivotal role of understanding the intricate relationship with the ocean and the necessity to conserve and protect it, was articulated during a feedback workshop on a comprehensive research project on Ocean Literacy held in Lagos last Thursday,
Providing valuable insights into the extensive data collection process on Ocean Literacy in Nigeria, Akpan revealed that the research, conducted from September 2022 to January 2023, engaged 166 participants and garnered 119 responses.
He further delineated the trajectory for the research, envisioning a more comprehensive stakeholder engagement that encompasses the ocean governance institutional framework, culminating in an enabling environment for ocean literacy and governance in Nigeria.
Dr. Emma McKinley of Cardiff University elucidated the challenges hindering Ocean Literacy, pinpointing the inadequate dissemination of information on the significance of oceans in people’s lives and the limited inclusion of ocean-related topics in educational curricula.
To address these barriers, McKinley underscored the need for individuals to comprehend essential principles and fundamental concepts about the ocean to make informed decisions regarding its resources.
Adekunbi Falilu, a researcher at the Nigeria Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), emphasized the significance of awareness in advocating for ocean literacy, citing the critical role of accurate information in effectively protecting the continental shelf.
Looking forward, Falilu called for a more comprehensive survey to deepen understanding and urged policymakers to recognize the myriad contributions of the ocean to the Nigerian economy, particularly within the realm of the Blue Economy.
In alignment with the resonance from the workshop, Mr. Adenigba Henry Oluwarotimi, Executive Director of Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development (HUFFOED), commended the research feedback as an invaluable platform for deliberating on the holistic understanding of the benefits and ecosystem services offered by the ocean. He underscored the imperative to protect this vital natural resource.
This collaborative initiative brought together researchers from Cardiff University, Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, and Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE), consolidating efforts to contribute to the global ocean literacy research community.
The collaboration emphasizes the need for a forward-looking research agenda tailored to the African context, with a focus on empowering Nigeria.