Sustainable Blue Economies
The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.
One of the key focus areas will be alternative funding systems, including promoting public/private partnerships as well as new investment models.
Healthy, productive and resilient oceans and coasts are a critical enabler of poverty alleviation, environmentally sustainable economic growth, and human wellbeing, especially in coastal communities.
Oceans are essential for ensuring food security and meeting nutritional needs. Fisheries and other natural resource use generally benefit from sustainable practices and balanced conservation measures.
Oceans are one of the largest sources of nutritional and pharmaceutical products. In addition, the management of oceans also have a significant role to play in the prevention of tropical diseases, combating water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases as well as reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and water pollution and contamination.
Oceans, coastal and marine ecosystems create unique opportunities to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all that can create relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship. Oceans also enable the aquisition of knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles.
Women account for most of the workers in secondary marine-related activities such as fish processing and marketing. The ocean economy has an important role to play in ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls as well as giving women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control natural resources.
Oceans have a key role to play in:
The ocean provides a space for renewable offshore energy, especially wind power; it also provides various forms of ocean energy, from wave and tidal power, to ocean currents and gradients in temperature or salinity. Ocean space and resources are thus vital to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Sustainable growth of marine and maritime sectors supports employment and economic growth. Oceans have the ability to increase per capita GDP, economic diversification, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalisation and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, oceans promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation are all objectives that our oceans are able to assist in obtaining. One area where this can be evidenced is the development of quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being.
A sustainable and equitable ocean economy is necessary for reducing inequality within and among countries. This is particularly true for small-scale fishers, which constitute the largest employment category in the ocean economy and are among the bottom 40% of the population by income, and coastal and island populations, which are also part of the global bottom 40% by income.
Coasts are attractive for urban development, often due to opportunities for economic activities and the availability of natural resources, but coastal settlements are a major factor in increasing environmental pressures along the coast-sea-interface. SDG14 also reinforces sustainable and resilient coastal settlements and urbanisation.
Achieving SDG14 and sustainable consumption and production go hand in hand, not only in ocean-based industries and coastal communities. Ending overfishing, sustainably managing marine and coastal ecosystems and reducing marine pollution supports the efficient use of natural resources and reduces food loss while sustainable consumption and production patterns will reduce marine pollution and support sustainable resource extraction practices.
Due to its size as well as unique role and function, the ocean arguably has the largest role to play with regards to climate change mitigation, adaptation as well as impact reduction. Likewise, protecting our ocean from the consequences on it due to climate change, is an imperative if we want to ensure the ocean can continue to provide us with the economic, social and environment goods and services we rely on.
Conserve & sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine sources for sustainable development.
The ocean provides water as well as alternative resources that can play a significant role in protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, and halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss.
The sustainable management and use of the ocean and marine resource can contribute to achieving the objectives of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Due to the oceans creating a physical link and being a shared resource between almost all countries, working towards achieving SDG 14 creates a unique opportunity to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.