FINANCE AND INVESTMENT
The combined contribution of the ocean economy has recently been estimated as being in the order of US$1.5–3.0 trillion annually—roughly 3 to 5 percent of global GDP. More countries are looking to the ocean as a new economic frontier. Meanwhile, the ecosystems upon which many ocean economic activities depend are also changing at an unprecedented rate, and not necessarily for the better. Ensuring ocean health is now synonymous with maintaining ocean wealth.
The Blue Economy
The 2014 UN Conference on Sustainable Development first raised the concept of “the blue economy” and the need to stimulate “blue growth,” for island nations and developing countries with significant coastlines and/or maritime areas.
The idea has captured the imagination of policy makers, the United Nations, OECD, development finance organizations such as the World Bank and NGOs. The great challenge for ocean-facing countries and small island developing states will be growing the economy of the oceans while still supporting ecosystems’ health. Better understanding of ocean ecosystems, and particularly of the value of natural marine assets and ecosystem services will help to assess a nation’s ocean wealth, and in doing so better define a pathway to support the growth of a country’s blue economy.
Top image: © Brad Northrup