There is a huge potential in a sustainable blue economy or an ocean-based economy. The total value of ocean assets has been estimated at $24 trillion and the ocean economy is valued around $1.5 trillion a year, and this number is expected to double by 2030 to $3 trillion. While the composition of the ocean-based economy is diverse, from established ocean industries, such as fisheries, tourism, and maritime transport, to emerging and new activities, such as offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, and marine biotechnology, the pandemic has taken a toll in most of these areas. Tourism and international shipping have been particularly hit and this had a disproportionate effect on vulnerable countries such as SIDS and developing coastal states which depend on the ocean economy for their economic livelihood, food security, and nutrition, etc.
Nevertheless, the potential benefits of a sustainable blue economy present an important opportunity to build back better from the pandemic by transitioning to a blue-green recovery path and growth. At the same time, the ocean-based economy also presents an opportunity to tackle some of the biggest challenges of the century; global warming from greenhouse gas caused by human activities and loss of biodiversity. A sustainable blue economy can play a critical role to greatly accelerate advances to a net-zero carbon world by 2050 through measures such as green shipping, nature-based solutions to climate change, innovative carbon sequestration methods such as blue carbon. The integration of area-based conservation tools such as marine protected areas can provide viable solutions to address the biodiversity crisis.
Despite well documented benefits of a sustainable blue economy, various challenges to blue economy implementation such as access to affordable long-term financing at scale, lack of capacity and technology, developing enabling conditions and addressing environmental concerns remain. One of the ways to help overcome these challenges is not only to ensure participation of all related stakeholders in the policy making processes, but that such process is aligned with various related international and UN processes. Such alignment will ensure an integrated approach to halt the declining health of the ocean address climate change and indeed facilitate a holistic implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The Voluntary Commitments (VC) of the Communities of Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE) emerging from the 2017 Ocean Conference provide important ideas and offer potential solutions to the international community’s common concerns on SBE and related issues. As of date, VCs have been submitted since the first UN Ocean conference in 2017. This webinar will look at some of these commitments that have been successful in making progress towards the common objective of implementing SDG 14 and its related priorities.