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Visual Storytelling for Sustainable Ocean Governance and Blue Entrepreneurship

My name is Mohamed Mohamud, and I am driven by a relentless mission to reshape perceptions, bridge knowledge gaps, and inspire positive change through the power of visual storytelling. As the Founder and Project Manager of Somali Sideways, a dedicated media platform aimed at challenging stereotypes and promoting understanding of the Somali region, I’ve witnessed first-hand the profound impact of stories on changing narratives. Over the years, I have had the privilege of traveling to over 25 countries, sharing stories through speaking engagements, panel discussions, and book events. My works stand as testaments to the transformative potential of visual storytelling.

While my journey with Somali Sideways has been incredibly rewarding, it has led me to a new and pressing challenge: the critical lack of knowledge and awareness surrounding the blue economy, ocean governance, and sustainable blue entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom. This issue holds significant urgency due to the vital role our oceans play in providing resources, livelihoods, and ecological balance. However, the governance of our oceans, sustainable exploitation, and the economic potential of the blue economy remain underrepresented in the UK’s public discourse and policy initiatives. As climate change takes centre stage in global discussions, our oceans are bearing the brunt of its impacts, and we can no longer afford this knowledge gap.

My deep-seated passion for addressing the issues of ocean governance, the blue economy, and sustainable entrepreneurship is deeply rooted in my journey as a visual storyteller. One of the stories that profoundly affected me during my travels was that of island communities grappling with the immediate and devastating impacts of climate change. Witnessing their resilience and their connection to the oceans stirred my commitment to making their voices heard.

As a visual storyteller, I firmly believe that the most effective way to engage and captivate people is through the art of storytelling. The true power of photography and storytelling lies in their ability to humanise complex issues, making them accessible and relatable to a wide audience. This human-interest aspect of visual storytelling has the power to evoke empathy, compassion, and drive positive change, which fuels my dedication to this medium. Thus, my approach to addressing this knowledge gap is to collect stories and narratives from island states, which are often at the forefront of climate change challenges and have unique experiences and insights to share.

Renowned photographers and visual storytellers like Dea Sudaman and Isabelle Boon have been influential in my development. Their work highlights the personal, human experiences of those affected by climate change. This human-interest aspect of visual storytelling has the power to evoke empathy, compassion, and drive positive change, which fuels my dedication to this medium.

My experience using visual storytelling to challenge misconceptions serves as a model for addressing similar knowledge gaps. By leveraging the compelling medium of storytelling, we can bridge gaps in understanding and inspire action. Visual storytelling is a universal language that transcends borders and serves as a powerful tool for positive change. By bringing these stories to a global audience, we can illuminate the pressing issues of ocean governance, sustainable blue entrepreneurship, and the blue economy.

The role as AIS Youth Delegate representing the United Kingdom has provided me with valuable insights into the challenges facing my country. It has also connected me with a network of like-minded individuals who share a deep commitment to addressing these challenges. As an AIS Youth Delegate, I plan to collaborate with organisations, policymakers, and fellow delegates to advocate for increased knowledge and action on the said matters. I firmly believe that our collective efforts can bring about the necessary change.

The connection between my background in photography and visual storytelling and my involvement in the AIS Youth Conference is evident. My experience in capturing the personal human experiences of those affected by climate change has prepared me to advocate for increased knowledge and action on ocean governance, the blue economy, and sustainable entrepreneurship.

The AIS Youth Conference, hosted alongside the AIS Forum’s High-Level Meeting, provides an invaluable platform for young leaders like me to collaborate and advocate for change. My journey as a visual storyteller has equipped me with the skills and perspective to make a meaningful contribution to this global initiative. By sharing the stories of those who often go unheard, I aim to foster a greater sense of global responsibility and engagement.

As we endeavour to tackle pressing issues like ocean governance, the blue economy, and sustainable blue entrepreneurship, let us remember the potency of stories in uniting us toward a common goal. The call to action is crystal clear: let us collect stories, share experiences, and unite the global community, especially the youth, to become active participants in addressing the crucial issues we currently face. We envision a future where young people are not only aware of these critical issues but also leading the way toward positive change.

Written by:
Mohamed Mohamud – AIS Youth Conference Delegate, United Kingdom

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After a sideline discussion at the Ocean Conference 2017 in New York City and a follow-up Conference on the Archipelagic and Island States Forum in Jakarta in 2017, a common understanding among AIS participating countries was born. The Archipelagic and Island States Forum was then formally established through the adoption of the Manado Joint Declaration during the first Ministerial Meeting of the participating countries on 1 November 2018.

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum is a platform designed to include island states and archipelagic countries regardless of their region, size, and development level. A global initiative that brings together 51 archipelagic and island nations to take part in a collective forum addressing challenges of ocean resource usage for sustainable economic growth, climate change resiliency, ocean pollution, emergency management, and the enhancement of sustainable fisheries.

 

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum stands as a visionary platform, purposefully crafted to encompass the participation of 51 diverse archipelagic and island nations from across the globe. Its overarching mission is to facilitate a collective forum aimed at addressing the pressing issue of sustainable development. Within this forum, these nations come together to forge international partnerships and foster cooperation in their shared commitment to sustainable development. By uniting their efforts and expertise, the AIS Forum plays a pivotal role in harnessing the collective power of these island states to tackle the environmental, economic, and social challenges they face while striving to build a more sustainable and interconnected world.
Five years after the establishment of the AIS Forum, leaders from AIS countries have agreed to strengthen commitment for collaboration among nations. On 11th October 2023 in Bali, Indonesia, at the First High Level Meeting of the AIS Foru,, 32 AIS countries agreed to adopt the Leaders’ Declaration on the Solidarity of the Archipelagic and Island States. The adoption of this declaration marked a significant step for the AIS Forum to further elevate its position in the global scheme. The Declaration focuses on four collaborative areas, which are:

Our Team offers an insightful glimpse into the exceptional individuals who comprise the driving force behind the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum. These dedicated professionals work cohesively to realize our mission and objectives. The AIS Forum, as a platform, is thoughtfully designed to incorporate the active participation of 51 archipelagic and island states from various corners of the world, uniting them within a collective forum to address the critical concerns of sustainable development.

The AIS Forum’s role is to facilitate close cooperation between archipelagic and island states in its four working areas. The forum has fostered connections and collaborative projects through its partnerships with private enterprises, government authorities, universities, NGOs, media and global or regional organisations. This approach aims to create a network of experts, researchers and policymakers who can provide insight and support to the AIS programme.

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to our monthly newsletter

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AIS Forum Collaborates with the United Kingdom to Enhance the Digital Ecosystem in Coastal Areas through Indonesia Digital Ecosystem Assessment (IDEA)

VENAMBAK’s Clean Technology for Climate Smart Aquaculture

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to our monthly newsletter