Navigating the Blue Horizon: Aqaba's Blue Economy Forum Chronicles Future Perspectives

Unveiling the Potential: Aqaba’s Blue Economy Forum Sheds Light on Growth and Sustainability

Published on Thursday 21 December 2023· START-UPS AND ENTREPRENEURS

On December 11, 2023, in Aqaba, the Business Development Center (BDC), in collaboration with MEDWAVES and sponsored by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), orchestrated a pivotal forum. This gathering of experts delved into the future perspectives of the blue economy in the region, sparking enlightening discussions and strategic insights.

The forum started with keynote speeches delivered by representatives from the Business Development Center (BDC) and ASEZA. These speeches highlighted the importance of nurturing the blue economy as a catalyst for regional growth and sustainability. The emphasis was on fostering collaboration to fortify projects and stimulate investments within this crucial sector.

Unveiling Findings: A Joint Study’s Revelations

A significant highlight of the event was the presentation of findings from a joint study involving the Business Development Center, the Jordan Green Building Council, and MedWaves. The study focused on the challenges and opportunities within the blue economy in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea. It took into account national and strategic plans related to the environment, biodiversity, growth, SDGs linked to the transport sector, and its correlation with the Green Sector.

Interactive dialogue sessions ensued, engaging experts in extensive discussions on the findings of the study. Queries surfaced regarding the equilibrium between economic progress and the preservation of marine environments. Various sectors were scrutinized, including Coastal Tourism, Waste Management, Renewable Energy, Fishing and Aquaculture, Maritime Transportation, and Seawater Desalination.

Success Stories and Practical Insights

Ala’a Hasaseen from The Clean Blue Project, incubated by the Blue Economy project implemented by BDC in partnership with MedWaves, shared their experience during the discussion panel. They transformed from a voluntary team cleaning the sea to save coral lives into a revenue-generating business with contracts from various entities and hotels, including a prestigious tender won from ASEZA to clean the North beach of Aqaba shore.

BDC’s Rationale for Blue Economy Investment

The Business Development Center emphasized the rationale for investing in the Blue Economy in Jordan through key points such as limited natural resources, emphasis on innovation and sustainability, a holistic vision aligned with the Paris Agreement, addressing poverty, and mitigating climate change effects. Their approach includes the utilization of blue resources for the preservation of traditional ways of life, carbon sequestration, and coastal resilience.

Dr. Ayman Suleiman, Commissioner for the Environment at ASEZA, reaffirmed the authority’s commitment to linking social development with resource sustainability. Eng. Mohammed Al-Shamailah, the manager of Green Entrepreneurship and Blue Economy Program at the BDC, highlighted their focus on self-employment, support for small and medium-sized projects, and empowering women economically.

Acknowledgments were extended to esteemed partners and supportive entities, including GIZ, iPARK, the National Employment Company, the Youth Directorate, Ministry of Youth, Irada Program, JRF, Crown Prince Foundation, and USAID, along with project idea owners and existing youth projects. Gratitude was extended to all for their generous support and active participation in advancing a promising future for the blue economy in the Aqaba region.

Charting the Course for a Blue Tomorrow

In conclusion, participants expressed optimism about the effective interaction and constructive dialogue observed during the conference. Aqaba’s dedication to promoting sustainable development and realizing success in the blue economy shines bright, paving the way for a future where economic advancement and environmental conservation harmoniously coexist.