Ocean Action Hub

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Unleashing the Blue Economy for economic recovery and resilience in the Eastern Caribbean

17 Nov 2020 - Although the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) territories are small in terms of land mass, they are surrounded by a 500,000 km2 seascape – roughly 80 times lar

17 Nov 2020 - Although the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) territories are small in terms of land mass, they are surrounded by a 500,000 km2 seascape – roughly 80 times larger than their land areas. The marine space is a lifeline for OECS countries, which have embraced the Blue Economy - - in other words, using this massive ocean area for sustainable economic growth and resilience.

Thanks to picturesque beaches, incredible marine biodiversity, and warm, welcoming people, the Caribbean tourism industry boomed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, dominating the region’s economy. Tourism, which is a major employer in the Caribbean, contributed 15.2% (or $57 billion annually) to the region’s prosperity.

Unfortunately, the necessary lockdown measures to curb the pandemic have severely impacted the sector. Tourism is projected to decline 58%-78% globally in 2020 according to the UN World Trade Organization, jeopardizing job prospects in the Caribbean, where 54% of workers in the hotel and hospitality industry are women.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://blogs.worldbank.org/latinamerica/unleashing-blue-economy-economic-recovery-and-resilience-eastern-caribbean?cid=ccg_tt_climatechange_en_ext

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Proyecto global "Cadenas Mundiales Sostenibles de Productos de Mar"

17 Sept 2020 - El Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), a través de su proyecto Cadenas Mundiales Sostenibles de Suministro de Productos del Mar (GMC por sus siglas en

17 Sept 2020 - El Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), a través de su proyecto Cadenas Mundiales Sostenibles de Suministro de Productos del Mar (GMC por sus siglas en inglés), impulsa la creación de espacios de diálogo (plataformas) con la participación de múltiples partes interesadas para el desarrollo y la implementación de políticas públicas para la gestión sostenible de la pesca (Planes de Acción Nacional).

Esta iniciativa también aprovecha las fuerzas de mercado a través de los mecanismos de certificación de sostenibilidad (eco-etiquetado) para involucrar a los minoristas de productos del mar y actores del sector privado en la cadena de suministro. GMC ayuda al sector privado en la transición hacia el abastecimiento responsable de productos del mar y, por lo tanto, impulsa la inversión para mejorar la gestión sostenible de las pesquerías con las que trabaja el proyecto.

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Global Marine Commodities Project | A Holistic Approach for a Blue Economy

18 Sept 2020 - As consumer demand for wild caught seafood continues to grow, so do the pressures that lead to ov

18 Sept 2020 - As consumer demand for wild caught seafood continues to grow, so do the pressures that lead to overfishing and collapses of global fisheries.  To help overfished stocks recover, as well as to safeguard those that are still within sustainable harvesting limits, both the private and public sectors have important roles to play.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is currently implementing an innovative project, the Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities Project (GMC Project), and released a new publication "The GMC Project: Our Model and Early Results", that describes its unique approach to engage different public and private sector actors along the seafood supply chain to drive sustainability into 9 distinct fisheries in Asia and Latin America. 

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The Caribbean can make waves with a blue ocean economy

10 Mar 2020 - IADB - Due to its unique geography, the Caribbean faces many challenges – and the climate crisis is only exacerbating them.

10 Mar 2020 - IADB - Due to its unique geography, the Caribbean faces many challenges – and the climate crisis is only exacerbating them.

Countries in the Caribbean tend to have a rough time when it comes to extreme weather like hurricanes.

Due to their geography, they’re usually more susceptible to disasters and extreme weather events, have limited access to freshwater and land for agriculture, and scarce development options and international trade opportunities.

The climate crisis risks exacerbating this precarious situation. Last August, Hurricane Dorian’s destructive path across The Bahamas left damages of around $3.4 billion.

The islands of the Caribbean know these challenges all too well and are stepping up with innovative solutions. Emerging interest around the Blue Economy is just one of these.

For example, The Sustainable Islands Platform (SIsP) is looking at the best ways to support island territories in their pursuit of sustainability and prosperity.

Developed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the platform exists under three founding pillars that are closely related: Climate Resilience, Circular Economy, and Blue Economy – the latter is a model which can significantly support economic growth in the region.

Although there are different interpretations of the term Blue Economy, it is rooted in the idea of the sustainable use of the oceans.

More specifically, and in the context of the SIsP, Blue Economy looks at the way oceans are a driver for welfare and prosperity. In short, growth is at the heart of the Blue Economy.

At the same time – considering that oceans also regulate our climate, provide us with food, social and cultural identity, and give us half the oxygen we breathe – there is a collective responsibility to support ocean health.

The islands of the Caribbean are particularly dependent on healthy oceans and with the countless natural services that the surrounding sea provides.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/03/06/caribbean-can-make-waves-blue-ocean-economy/

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Attachments for Ilha Circular Project

There are two different documents attached as resources:

ATTACHMENT A - ILHA CIRCULAR: here you will find our action plan for the implementation of the project, also our description of values.

ILHA CIRCULAR PROJECT - PROPOSAL: here we have a robust document with a detailed description of our project, each phase, component and output are described in this file.

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Blue economy business startups unveiled in Barbados

21 Jan 2020 - Turning sargassum seaweed into bioplastic and fish offal into fuel are among four industry startups to receive backing from UNDP.

21 Jan 2020 - Turning sargassum seaweed into bioplastic and fish offal into fuel are among four industry startups to receive backing from UNDP.

The ventures were unveiled at a UNDP blue economy accelerator lab’s Blue Tank session at UN House, where eight innovators pitched their concepts to a panel of judges who provided feedback.

In the end, four of them were selected for “blue lab funding”.

The quartet of startups selected receive funding of up to $30,000 (US$15,000), were Bio Plastic Creation, focusing on making biodegradable products from sargassum seaweed and cassava starch; Bajan Digital Creations Inc. which focused on coral reef mapping using underwater drones; Ten Habitat, which focused on developing a traceable fisheries brand; and NRG, which will develop biogas and fuel from fish offal. 

The blue lab is part of 60 UNDP global accelerator labs working to reimagine development in several areas for the 21st century, according to UNDP officials.

The lab for Barbados is focused on the blue economy and is aimed at supporting innovative solutions to some of the problems.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/01/16/blue-economy-biz-startups-unveiled/

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The Blue Tank – Innovative Solutions for a Sustainable Blue Economy

16 Jan 2020 - The UNDP Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean Blue Economy Accelerator Lab (Blue Lab) has launched the first-ever “Blue Tank” ­– a dynamic forum where innovators will pitch ideas to help build a sustainable blue economy in the Caribbean.

 

16 Jan 2020 - The UNDP Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean Blue Economy Accelerator Lab (Blue Lab), with support from the German Development Cooperation and the Qatar Fund for Development has launched the first-ever “Blue Tank” ­– a dynamic forum where innovators will pitch ideas to help build a sustainable blue economy in the Caribbean region.

The primary objective of the Blue Lab, as part of the world’s largest and fastest learning network, is to promote out-of-the-box-thinking and experimentation to support Small Island Developing States in the sustainable development of its ocean based economic sectors while contributing to SDG 14. Consequently, the Blue Tank has been conceptualised from this to advance the identification of new and creative grassroots solutions to the multifaceted and rapidly changing challenges of the blue economy.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.bb.undp.org/content/barbados/en/home/presscenter/articles/2019/the-blue-tank.html

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Blue economy gets a boost

2 Oct 2019 - The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support governments in the creation of public policies to diversify their economies while ensuring inclusive growth and sustainable development.

2 Oct 2019 - Responding to the challenges Caribbean islands are facing when it comes to the sustainable use of marine resources, including impacts on ocean-related sectors such as fisheries, research, tourism, and maritime transport infrastructure, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Friday September 21, 2019 to support governments in the creation of public policies to diversify their economies while ensuring inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Contained within the MOU, the Blue Economy proposal is a paradigm shift that coordinates sectors instead of creating silos, promotes more integrated approaches to marine management and delivers structural funding, innovation, capacity building, and other changes that improve the management of Small Islands Development States’ (SIDS) maritime space and related sectors.

It was signed by The UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Dr Luis Felipe López Calva. This joint venture will provide Caribbean governments and other public entities with commissioned research and high-level technical assistance on critical development challenges that can have catalytic impacts in the region.

Vice-Chancellor Beckles said, “The Caribbean Sea, around which approximately 115 million people live, accounts for one per cent of the global ocean area and 14 per cent of the global ocean economy. Partnership on the Blue Economy is therefore significant for our region. The UWI continues to demonstrate that universities must play a unique role in advancing the 2030 global development agenda as drivers of knowledge, innovation and development solutions. As an activist university, we take this role seriously, with particular responsibility for climate action given the vulnerability of our region. The impact of our efforts, however, will only be as strong as our partnerships with international players, so we will continue to create and promote opportunities like these to advance this agenda.”

“UNDP is proud to join forces with The University of West Indies and reaffirm its commitment to support Caribbean countries to effectively leverage their ocean and coastal assets for economic and social development. This is not a pie in the sky, but rather, a very specific and concrete commitment to contribute in the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the SDG Agenda,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Felipe López Calva.

This collaboration builds on UNDP’s Accelerator Labs, a new way of working in development. The organisation established 60 Accelerator Labs across the world, the one in Barbados is the only one based in the Caribbean and focuses on promoting innovation and community engagement on blue economy-related sectors and to make progress along three lanes: higher productivity and growth; a greater inclusion in the labour market and in access to quality services; and stronger resilience.

CONTINUE READING: https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/09/30/blue-economy-gets-a-boost/

Image by doskey12 from Pixabay 

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The Caribbean addresses the scourge of plastic pollution

11 Jul 2019 - 75-80 % of marine litter in the Caribbean Sea comes from land, and most of it consists of plastics. States are taking action and momentum is building.

11 Jul 2019 - 75-80 % of marine litter in the Caribbean Sea comes from land, and most of it consists of plastics. Together with agrochemical run-off and domestic wastewater, it is one of three priority pollutants for the wider Caribbean region.

"Our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste. Microplastics in the seas now outnumber stars in our galaxy. From remote islands to the Artic, nowhere is untouched. If present trends continue, by 2050, our oceans will have more plastic than fish. The message is simple: reject single use plastic. Refuse what you can't reuse. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world,” said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.

Governments are taking note. Throughout the region, many have banned, or are considering bans on single-use plastics, including plastic bags and Styrofoam. 

Antigua and Barbuda led the charge in 2016 with a five-phased approach to getting rid of plastics. Following extensive consultation with stakeholders, they decided to incorporate the ban into existing legislation rather than create new laws. They then ran the campaign “Make a difference one bag at a time”, and listed government-approved alternatives such as bagasse. As a result of these actions, the proportion of plastic dumped at landfills declined from 19.5 per cent in 2006 to 4.4 per cent in 2017.

The momentum continues. More than 18 territories have banned single-use plastics or Styrofoam products, while three countries have introduced bans at local levels, two have announced bans to begin in 2020 and 2021, 14 are discussing it within government and four have begun public consultations.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/caribbean-addresses-scourge-plastic-pollution

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Innovative financing and regional dialogue are central for a thriving ‘blue economy’

25 Nov 2018 - The blue economy concept holds great potential for coastal communities around the world, including the Caribbean.

25 Nov 2018 - The concept of ‘blue economy’ is gaining momentum. It is all about using ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving ocean and coastal ecosystem health. It includes economic activities, such as sustainable marine energy, sustainable fisheries, better management of ocean waste and ocean-related eco-tourism. The blue economy holds great potential for coastal communities around the world. Take for example, the Caribbean.

At the Board of Governors Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), 30-31 May 2018, the focus is on resilience, against the backdrop of one of the most devastating hurricane seasons the Caribbean region has experienced in recent history. As a contribution to the meeting, CDB and UNDP have partnered on a report to spark dialogue around the ways in which Caribbean countries can build resilience by adopting a ‘blue economy’ approach to development. The report identifies the financial challenges in the region, highlights innovative financing options that could be tested, and discusses policy and regulatory enablers to advance blue economy strategies at national and regional level.

What are the challenges? Financing investments in key blue economy areas such as sustainable infrastructure or research and development remains a significant challenge for Caribbean countries with a narrow economic and tax base, and in many cases high public debt. The debt-to-GDP ratio is over 60 percent in 12 out of 20 Caribbean countries according to Moody’s. Graduation of Caribbean countries to upper-middle and high-income status meanwhile has resulted in the decline of development aid by about 50 percent between 2006 and 2016, according to the World Bank, as well as restricted their eligibility for concessional finance. However, the region remains disproportionately vulnerable to environmental shocks and climate change. In 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria caused damages to Dominica estimated at more than 225 percent of GDP. This means affected countries need to find additional resources for relief and reconstruction.

What can be done? To finance blue economy investments, it is crucial that Caribbean countries have easier access to concessional finance and innovative debt instruments, such as countercyclical loans (allowing debt service to fall in the event of a major shock). There is also a need to explore innovative finance models, such as blended finance (combining public and private investment), impact investment (investing to generate impact alongside a financial return) and blue bonds (tapping into capital markets to fund ocean-related environmental projects). The report shows that these are underexplored areas for the Caribbean.

There are examples to learn from. Seychelles is one country championing the blue economy model. It has combined several innovative finance models to fund sustainable ocean-development and conservation. It issued its first ‘Blue Bond’ in 2017 to raise US$15 million to finance the transition to sustainable management of small-scale artisanal fisheries, including measures aimed at rebuilding fish stocks, harvest control measures, post-harvest and value adding activities, and scientific and sector support services. It also implemented a debt-for-nature swap combining $15.2 million of impact capital and $5 million in grants to buy back a portion of Seychelles’ debt at a discount, using the proceeds to fund marine conservation and climate change adaptation through a new trust fund named Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust.

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