The Blue Economy approach is based on a vision of "improved wellbeing and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities" (UNEP 2013). As such, Blue Economy initiatives support the creation of a low-carbon, resource-efficient, socially-inclusive society. The achievement of global sustainability goals feeds local objectives, and conversely, global successes are built on effective local implementation. As such, the services, benefits and values documented by initial Blue Economy efforts were and are seen as crucial not only for local communities and coastal states, but also the world as a whole (UNEP, 2015, p.8).
The fact that oceans and seas (as well as rivers, waterways and estuaries) matter for sustainable development is undeniable. Two thirds of the earth's surface is covered by water. The oceans1 are widely accepted as the incubator of all life forms. They are a fundamental yet delicate part of the Earth's biosphere and essential to sustaining life on the planet. Oceans serve a variety of purposes, all critical to the sustenance and preservation of human life. Among other things, they provide food and minerals, generate oxygen, absorb greenhouse gases (GHG), mitigate climate change, influence weather patterns and temperatures and serve as highways for human transport and sea-borne trade (UNCTAD, 2014, p.1).
The link between humans and the oceans has been fundamental to the development of human civilisation. Today, more than 3 billion people live in close proximity to the coast. This number is bound to rise with population growth, urban drift and increasing demand for accommodation close to oceans and seas. The high level of dependence of humans on marine assets is putting unprecedented pressure on marine ecosystems to service the ever-increasing demands of the growing global population. There is therefore an increasing need for regulation on the basis of an appropriate balance between the demand for oceans' natural resources and their sustainability (UNCTAD, 2014, p.1).
Healthy oceans and seas are essential to a more sustainable future for all. This is particularly true in the case of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). However, oceans are facing significant existential ecological risks that can negatively affect the social and economic prospects of all countries, particularly SIDS and coastal States that are acutely dependent on oceans. Some of these risks are a rise in sea levels due to climate change; acidification of oceans resulting from increased emissions of carbon dioxide; overexploitation and poor management of marine resources, including fisheries; wastewater runoff; deposit of pollutants into waterways; and the compromise of the seabed as a consequence of mineral resource prospecting and extraction (UNCTAD, 2014, p.1).
28 Oct 2020 - SeaAhead and the New England Aquarium choose the first cohort of 6 startup businesses for the BlueSwell Incubator Program to promote ocean health, sustainable ocean industries and global resilience and inspire others:
Coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses play a significant role as carbon sinks in the fight against climate change. They sequester and store large quantities of carbon in both the plants and the sediment below. Conservation and restoration of coastal ecosystems has the potential to help mitigate climate change while supporting many countries’ adaptation efforts and contributing to their sustainable development goals.
Gathering more than 2000 participants and viewers online, the UNDP World Oceans Day 2021 event “A Conversation with the 2020 UNDP Ocean Innovators” highlighted a suite of inspirational ocean protection and restoration projects the UNDP is supporting through the Ocean Innovation Challenge.
Paris, 8 June – In the context of global celebrations for World Oceans Day, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission announced the first Actions officially endorsed as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, 2021-2030 (the ‘Ocean Decade’).
The President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Volkan Bozkır, convened this one-day High-level Event on the Ocean, four years after the 2017 UN Ocean Conference, to drum up momentum by enabling a review of progress and actions required in the lead up to the Second UN Ocean Conference to conven in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2022.