Ocean Action Hub

Definition

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).

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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. 

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G7 leaders recently announced that “our world must not only become net zero, but also nature positive, for the benefit of both people and the planet.”

Nature positive is a disruptive idea and it is a new business model based on regeneration, resilience and recirculation – not destruction and pollution.

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Policymakers and experts call on UNCTAD to play a leading role in research, finance and technical assistance to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources.

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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.

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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’).

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In this issue, read the following feature stories, as well as other related documents and reports, events and opportunities, on the ocean:

  • SIDS urge the global community to come together to address the biggest challenge of the oceans
  • BlueDIGITAL to redesign MSME's traditional model and bridge the digital divide for bluer and greener future
  • Building back bluer: How blue financing can sustain community-led marine conservation in Fiji 
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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.

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Now, more than ever, the world is looking to science and innovation to provide solutions to critical problems facing the planet.

Event Date:
29/10/2020 - 15:30 to 17:30
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7 Oct 2020 - Kelping Hands is a brand-new, pharmaceutical-grade, hand sanitizer made from a species of seaweed found on the west coast of British Columbia.

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21 Sept 2020 - Scientists say climate change and pollution could kill off the world’s coral reefs by 2100.

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The COVID-19 crisis wreaked havoc on societies and economies and dealt a major setback to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Event Date:
21/09/2020 - 09:00 to 24/09/2020 - 17:45
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