Oceans and marine and coastal resources represent a vital link between every region of the globe. In a myriad of ways they affect the lives of every person on the planet. In the lead up to, and during Rio+20, coastal and island developing countries gave a definitive voice to the major role that oceans have to play in all of our futures. It was a discussion which initiated exploration of how concepts and objectives of a Green Economy could be applied to the unique and irreplaceable role of marine and coastal ecosystems – i.e. the ‘Blue Economy’. As a marine and coastal analogue to the Green Economy, 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 only for local communities and coastal states, but also the world as a whole.
as diverse as the countries and regions which implement them. This diversity is common to Green Economy syntheses in general, but as Blue Economy is a relatively recent iteration of the Green Economy concept, countries and projects may reveal even greater divergence in the exact definition of Blue Economy applied. That said, there are substantial overarching commonalities: the Blue Economy supports specific measures to broaden the definition of ocean resources – to acknowledge the fundamental, life-supporting benefits and services that are provided by marine and coastal and ecosystems. These include the ecosystem services that provide, regulate, support, and enrich the cultural uses of coastal andmarine ecosystems. These ecosystemservices are inextricably linked with the sustainability and prosperity of key industries within the Blue Economy: Fisheries and Aquaculture, Water Resources, Shipping and Transport, Tourism, Marine Energy and Minerals, Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, and technologies and applications in Pollution Control Fundamental, therefore, to the Blue Economy approach is the need to deal effectively with key issues affecting the sustainability of marine ecosystem services and benefits, such as over-fishing, climate change, ocean acidification, loss of habitats and biodiversity, invasive species, pollution andwaste.
As the cases in this report will show, the specific applications and emphasis of Blue Economy are
The Blue Economy approach raises specific challenges. Principle among these is the need to