The importance of the Seas and Oceans to mankind as a source of life, oxygen producer, ecosystem support, climate regulator, food producer, source of employment and as a water reserve, has been recognized globally. Emphasis is on the United Nations Organization, through Agenda 2030, which defines the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG14 on the “conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."

      In addition, raising the level of understanding of other relevant international legal frameworks, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), will provide a basis for structured cooperation between nations on the maritime side, leading to the proclamation of the Seas and Oceans as factors of sustained development and security of the countries. On the other hand, it will allow for the promotion of permanent collaboration, based on an inter-sectoral and interagency approach, for effective and integrated management of the coastal and maritime areas in the least developed countries.

      The cross-border nature of the seas and oceans highlights the increasing challenges associated with global threats such as climate change, population growth, and degradation of the marine environment, loss of biodiversity and the high risk of pollution such as the proliferation of plastic waste, combined with issues related to maritime safety. Addressing these challenges requires harmonized and concerted approaches among the various nations that share this resource, or are indirectly linked to it.

      The Western Indian Ocean region, particularly the Mozambique Channel, is rich in biodiversity and coastal marine ecosystems, ranging from coral reefs stretching from the coast of Kenya to the northern part of Mozambique: Mangrove forests in the Zambezi Delta, coastal dunes rich in mineral resources, marine grasses that harbour a unique population of remnant dolphins in the region and a great diversity of fishing resources - source of income and substance for the population in the coastal areas. In addition, the region is also rich in hydrocarbons, particularly in the Rovuma Basin.

      The intensive use of existing fishery resources and the utilization of the sea transport route in this region, combined with the advent of hydrocarbon exploration, require a well-integrated, harmonized and concerted approach. This is particularly relevant in the Mozambique Channel where illegal fishing persists due to the inability of the countries to control their territorial waters, exacerbated by their limited institutional capacity to shape the development of a sustainable Blue Economy. These facts require strong collaboration and coordination at national, regional and international levels. The geo-strategic location of Mozambique makes it necessary for it to proactively assume responsibility for promoting the development of a sustainable Blue Economy, in the light of the its political and legal instruments, aligned with those of regional, continental and international nature.

      Mozambique intends to join the global call-to-action movement launched by the United Nations and various bodies responsible for the sustainability of the oceans in the framework of the implementation of SDG14, establishing a permanent dialogue meeting, on biennial basis, designated the "GROWING BLUE" Conference. Within the thematic areas indicated in this document, the Conference approach will focus on the country and the western region of the Indian Ocean (geographical zone of Mozambique). The aim is for promoting consultation, alignment and knowledge sharing required to effectively fulfilling the commitments made within the framework of the implementation of SDG14.

      The edition of the first conference recognizes that knowledge based on scientific research and technology, is the basic key to the development of the Blue Economy. Considering the national and regional context, characterized by limited scientific knowledge and technological development, there is a need to target investment resources, both in training and in strengthening or building technical and institutional capacity enabling science and technology to feed into the development of a sustainable Blue Economy.

      The Blue Economy is considered to be the new frontier of the renaissance at a global level, which has led to an increasing number of countries being engaged in formulating Policies and Strategies that integrate the Blue Economy as a basis for socio-economic transformation through integrated and harmonized initiatives and strategies, as well as joint action among countries to develop the latent potential that the Seas and Oceans offer humanity.

      Emphasis is placed on the African Union 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AU 2050 objectives) and the Blue Economy Policy Manual for Africa, which besides raising the level of understanding of other relevant international frameworks, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), lay the foundations for structured cooperation on the maritime front. This will allow proclaiming the Oceans as factors of sustained development and maritime security of countries, as well as promoting collaboration based on inter-sectoral and inter-agency approaches to manage coastal and marine areas in Africa.

      Thus, the permanent challenge towards effective sustainable blue development that emerges from the need to translate the global, continental and regional agenda into concrete and transformational directives and actions at individual country level and in the context of blocks of countries, constitutes the reasoning behind the organization and materialization of the series of conferences - object of this Concept Note.