Ocean Action Hub

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From ‘Spice Isle’ to ‘Blue Innovation’ hub: Grenada’s vision for the future - UNDP

2 Mar 2017 - Grenada is setting its sights on being known as a world leader for innovation in the ‘blue economy’, as one of the first countries to develop a vision for an economy based on ‘blue growth’.

In the run up to the Ocean Conference in June, this blog series explores issues related to oceans, seas, marine resources and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Life below water”.

The Caribbean country of Grenada, known by many as ‘Spice Isle’ for its production of nutmeg, cloves and other exotic spices is now setting its sights on being known as a world leader for innovation in the ‘blue economy’. The ‘blue economy’ can be broadly understood as economic activity that is in balance with the long-term capacity of ocean and coastal ecosystems to support this activity and remain healthy and resilient.

Grenada is one of the world’s first countries to develop a vision for an economy based on ‘blue growth’. Its ocean space is 75 times larger than its land area. Beyond its 345 square kilometres of land territory, Grenada has 26,000 square kilometres of blue ocean space. Such a large space presents opportunities for the country to diversify its economy, and by applying a ‘blue economy’ approach, it ensures that ocean development expands economic output, creates jobs, reduces poverty and builds local skills while conserving the natural environment.

Grenada is the first country to initiate a national ‘masterplan’ for blue growth. It identifies opportunities for blue growth development in areas such as fisheries and aquaculture, blue biotechnology, renewable energy, research and innovation. The masterplan proposes a ‘Blue Innovation Institute’ as a key component of its strategy. The institute will aim to be a centre of excellence and a think tank on blue economy, as well as seek to develop innovative ‘blue’ financing instruments such as debt-for-nature swapsblue bondsblue insurance and blue impact investment schemes. It follows Grenada’s successful “Blue Week” in 2016, an event which brought together governments, international organizations, investors, civil society and other stakeholders in an effort to advance the blue growth agenda and promote investment in the blue economy.

The ‘Blue Grenada’ vision follows a difficult period for the country. In 2013, Grenada defaulted on its external debt which had climbed to over 112 percent of GDP. It was the country’s second debt default in just ten years (the first was in 2004 driven by the devastating social and economic impacts of Hurricane Ivan). At the peak of the debt crisis, debt service consumed 40 percent of revenues, leaving few resources for investments in key social sectors and essential infrastructure.  A period of protracted negotiations with creditors ensued as well as an economic adjustment programme which saw difficult limits imposed on public expenditures. UNDP supported national and international civil society organizations to engage in a national discussion over how the debt crisis should be resolved in ways that would protect all citizens, especially the poorest.

Debt relief was eventually secured from some creditors which helped to reduce public debt to more sustainable levels; the debt to GDP ratio now stands at approximately 85 percent of GDP. Grenada was also able to negotiate an innovative ‘hurricane clause’ with some creditors, which allows the country to defer debt repayments in the event of another major weather shock. A debt-for-nature swap is also currently under negotiation – facilitated by the Nature Conservancy – which will see some debt exchanged for investments in a marine protected area.

Despite this progress, Grenada remains vulnerable to external shocks and to climate change, is still heavily dependent on tourism, has high capital investment needs and must invest in local skills development and economic opportunities for its people. The damage wreaked by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 is still very much in evidence. Continued external support from development partners – both financial and technical – will be needed to support the country to deliver on its ‘Blue Grenada’ vision and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Crucially, financial support must to be extended on a concessional basis due to continued debt vulnerabilities. CONTINUE READING: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2017/3/1/From-Spice-Isle-to-Blue-Innovation-hub-Grenada-s-vision-for-the-future.html

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Oceans and small island states: First think opportunity, then think blue

22 Feb 2017 - SIDS are thinking differently, especially when it comes to the ocean. At the Ocean Conference, we will all need to embrace this new mind-set.  

22 Feb 2017 - Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are thinking differently, especially when it comes to the ocean. Their self-characterization as Large Ocean States is more than symbolic, more than just words.  It represents a re-think on opportunities and challenges for small island states.  At the UN Ocean Conference in June in New York, we will all need to embrace this new mind-set.  

SIDS have often been characterized by their constraints – smallness (in land area at least), distance from markets, fragile ecosystems, narrow economies and vulnerability to natural disasters. And now they stand on the frontlines of sea-level rise and the consequences of a warming climate. That is a deficit-based model.

As large ocean states, the focus shifts to a strengths-based approach.  SIDS are custodians of 15 of the 50 largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). Tuvalu’s EEZ is 27,000 times larger than its land area.  SIDS represent almost 20 percent of the UN membership – if we are going to leave no one behind we need to think innovatively on development solutions tailored to the smallest countries, with some of the largest ocean estates.

The Ocean Conference will be the time to continue to move this opportunity-centred thinking into action. And one opportunity is – ‘think blue’ strategy. SIDS know the importance of establishing an equilibrium between economic and social progress and environmental sustainability. That is where the concept of blue economy comes in. The blue economy simultaneously promotes economic growth, environmental sustainability, social inclusion and the strengthening of ocean ecosystems. 

This is recognized in SDG 14. Target 14.7 challenges us to “By 2030, increase the economic benefits to SIDS and least developed countries (LDCs) from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.”  

The Ocean Conference, first and foremost, is about Action. It is about making tangible progress, through commitments, local, national, regional and global, to collectively progress the agreed targets under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) – Life Under Water. SIDS are determined to make sure that the importance of their voice to the oceans agenda is heard and to play their part in building a blue economy for their peoples and planet. 

CONTINUE READING: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2017/2/22/Oceans-and-small-island-states-First-think-opportunity-then-think-blue/

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Large Marine Ecosystems as Management and Governance Frameworks for Transboundary Cooperation on SDG14: Experience of the GEF and UNDP - Andrew Hudson

Presentation made at The Ocean Conference Preparatory Meeting Side Event: Strategies and Approaches for Accelerating and Scaling

Presentation made at The Ocean Conference Preparatory Meeting Side Event: Strategies and Approaches for Accelerating and Scaling up SDG14 Implementation

14 February, 2017

Andrew Hudson, Head, Water & Ocean Governance Programme, UNDP New York

www.clmeplus.org

Contact: CLME+ Project Coordination Unit, Cartagena, Colombia info@clmeplus.org

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Large Marine Ecosystems as Management and Governance Frameworks for Transboundary Cooperation on SDG14: Experience of the GEF and UNDP

Presentation made at The Ocean Conference Preparatory Meeting Side Event: Strategies and Approaches for Accelerating and Scaling

Presentation made at The Ocean Conference Preparatory Meeting Side Event: Strategies and Approaches for Accelerating and Scaling up SDG14 Implementation

14 February, 2017

Laverne Walker, Senior Project Officer, UNDP/GEF Caribbean LME+ Project.

www.clmeplus.org

Contact: CLME+ Project Coordination Unit, Cartagena, Colombia info@clmeplus.org

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Strategies & Approaches for Accelerating & Scaling up SDG14 Implementation

Watch the livestream of the high-level panel side event in the margins of the Preparatory Meeting for the Ocean Conference (15-16 February 2017) at UN Headquarters in New York.

Full details of the programme and speakers here: http://www.oceanactionhub.org/scalingupSDG14implementation

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High-level event underscores urgency and importance of conserving oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

14 February 2017 — With an estimated 40 percent of the world’s oceans heavily affected by unsustainable practices, global leaders are gearing up for an historic Ocean Conference (June 5-9)

14 February 2017 — With an estimated 40 percent of the world’s oceans heavily affected by unsustainable practices, global leaders are gearing up for an historic Ocean Conference (June 5-9), to renew momentum towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, ‘Life Below Water’.

A preparatory meeting this week in New York will lay the groundwork for the Ocean Conference, also to be held in New York. UNDP today organized a high-level event on the sidelines of this week’s preparatory meeting, to discuss strategies and approaches for accelerating and scaling up SDG 14.

Unlike most other SDGs, which have only one or two targets with delivery years of 2020 and 2025, SDG 14 has five targets for 2020 or 2025. The targets address major challenges facing the oceans, including pollution, overfishing, fisheries subsidies, coastal habitat loss, and acidification.

“Today’s side event is showcasing case studies of where negative trends affecting oceans have been able to be reversed,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said at the high-level side event.

“The Oceans Conference in June needs to galvanise this action and major partnerships around it, if the near term targets are to be met".

“Oceans provide the basis for the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, including some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, and contribute an estimated $3 to $6 trillion per annum to the global economy,” Ms Clark added.

Through its Global Environment Facility (GEF) co-financed International Waters and Biodiversity portfolios, UNDP has been actively supporting a range of programs that have delivered measurable impacts cutting across most of the SDG14 targets.  Drawing from this experience, the side event presented a series of short ‘case studies’ highlighting a range of tools and approaches used by UNDP and its partners that apply and deliver integrated, ecosystem-based approaches to sustainable ocean and coastal management at local, national, regional and global scales.

On the occasion, President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson announced the launch of the registry for Voluntary Commitments starting 15 February. The voluntary commitments are concrete pledges that support SDG 14 implementation to be announced at the Ocean Conference in June. They are expected to be specific in nature, quantifiable where possible, focused on delivering one or more target(s) under SDG 14.

Ms. Isabella Lovin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden stressed on the urgency to act now, for mitigating the rapid decline of oceans which hits hardest the poor and the vulnerable. She also shared some successful examples and initiatives undertaken by Sweden. "We have shared responsibility to act together and save oceans for future generations. If we don't do anything, we will have more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050," she stated. 

The high-level event was organized in partnership with the Forum Fisheries Agency, Partnerships for Environmental Management in the Seas of East Asia, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, Government of Tonga, Marine Research Institute of Colombia, and the International Maritime Organization.

The Ocean Conference and its preparatory meeting is open to a broad range of stakeholders including non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors.

Oceans cover nearly three quarters of the Earth’s surface and contribute substantially to human development, including through food security, transport, energy supply, tourism and critical ecosystem functions. Yet unsustainable practices such as overfishing, land-based sources of pollution, habitat destruction, invasive species, and the impacts of climate change – particularly ocean acidification – are threatening the ocean environment.

A 2015 World Economic Forum survey identified water-related crises as the top global risk, in terms of impact.

Contact information

Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, email: sangita.khadka@undp.org | tel: +1 212 906 5043

Read original article: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2017/02/14/hi-level-event-underscores-urgency-and-importance-of-conserving-oceans-seas-and-marine-resources-for-sustainable-development.html