Malta trains Commonwealth countries public officials in Oceanography and Blue Growth

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Jan 13, 2020

Malta has launched a seven-day training seminar in Oceanograpgy and Blue growth aimed at training public officials from Africa, the Caribbean region; the Pacific region as well as South Asia.  Most of these countries are fellow Commonwealth small states, along with Malta.   The officials will be trained in oceanographic data exploration, elaboration and product creation for sustainable marine development. The ocean-related practitioners and experts are hailing from Tonga, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Seychelles, Namibia, Mauritius, Tonga, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Barbados and the African Union who are being trained, as part of this initiative.

The topic of global marine and maritime economic trends will be also discussed, within the context of the future ocean economy, and the strategic role of states within their geopolitical regions.   This course will also tackle current and future methods for data exchanges set by human machine interfaces such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Entitled “Malta International Winter Course: Oceanography, it was officially opened by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela and it is aimed at targeting small island states, vulnerable communities and coastal areas located around the Commonwealth and Africa. This forms part of Malta’s commitment towards small states and small islands and it is framed within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, specifically SDG14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals).

In his remarks, Minister Carmelo Abela stated that Malta has a strong tradition in the maritime sphere. He emphasised that Malta is committed to upskilling and reskilling public officials who are often on the front line in the fulfilment of their countries’ international UN targets.  He noted that through the Small States Centre of Excellence situated in Malta and which has ideated, designed and funded the Malta International Winter School, several alumni have now been upskilled directly or indirectly by virtue of its courses. These range from climate finance; diplomatic negotiations, oceanography, blue growth as well as the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

He stated that over the years, with the establishment in Malta of further training centres such as the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) and the International Ocean Institute, as well as dedicated courses at the University of Malta, its reputation as a centre of excellence on training and capacity building on ocean governance continued to thrive. We are pleased that now, through the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence, we are able to continue to share this knowledge owing to our expertise in this area”, said Abela.

Minister Abela underscored the importance of Marine Economic Development for the Blue Charter as set out by The Commonwealth as the maritime aspect has the potential to expose a few positive possibilities, with which, if addressed appropriately, can provide opportunities for the betterment of our countries”. He highlighted the fact that the size of a country doesn’t matter when addressing such a challenge as “what differs is the capacity and resilience to address this vulnerability”

Speaking on the blue economy, he said, how the blue economy is increasingly becoming an important sector of growth across the world. This is especially true for developing nations, with economies seeking to flourish in a world in which sustainable development is a key factor in a nation’s economic progress. In this context, developing excellence in supporting sectors of the blue economy, such as the science of physical oceanography and its application, becomes a necessity.

This course is the result of a partnership between the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence and the Physical Oceanography Research Group, within the Department of Geosciences, University of Malta.    The course is intended to give a broader perspective on the impact of technological development in the marine and maritime sectors, on how the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, cloud computing and data analytics can provide new approaches to data management and knowledge creation in a smart technology-enabled future. 

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