A “Blue” Economy
The document titled the “Future We Want” highlights the ocean’s contribution to growth, stating; “We stress the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable development
By Kanchana Wickramasinghe
The development process known as ‘Greening’ has been the foremost topic of discussion for years, while ‘Blue’ seems to be the new ‘colour’entering the ongoing dialogue. ‘Blue’ talks about the use of ocean and its resources sustainably. The blue economy approach will not replace but mutually support the green economy, for the use of ocean resources.
The concept of blue economy stresses on the conservation and sustainable management of oceans. It is related to the ‘blue’ or ocean capital and complements the green economy. Accordingly, the blue economy approach recognizes the productivity of healthy ocean ecosystems as a way to safeguard sustainable ocean-based economies, as well as to ensure that coastal countries benefit from their marine resources.
The oceans were on the multilateral negotiations agenda at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. The outcome document titled the “Future We Want” highlights the ocean’s contribution to growth, stating; “We stress the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable development.”
The Abu Dhabi Declaration, adopted in January 2014 highlights a blue economy’s contribution towards alleviation of hunger, poverty eradication, creation of sustainable livelihoods, and mitigation of climate change. Accordingly, the aspects which were particularly highlighted are:
(a) Fisheries and their vital role in providing food security and sustainable livelihoods,
(b) Tourism as a source of decent employment and a contributor to poverty alleviation,
(c) Ocean as a source of renewable energy from wind, wave, tidal, thermal and biomass sources,
(d) Ocean as a source of hydrocarbon and mineral resources and,
(e) Ocean as the primary medium of global trade through shipping and port facilities.
The commitment to strengthen the blue economy was made at the 14th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Member States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Perth in October, 2014. The maritime related economic activities were identified as a common source of growth, innovation and job creation. It further highlighted the need for expansion of trade and investment within the region, including fisheries activities, minerals exploration, development of renewable energy, and coastal tourism, in order to stimulate growth and improve region’s food and energy