United Nations
Communities of Ocean Action
Sustainable blue economy
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Introduction
The oceans are central to sustainable development globally, and particularly for Small Island developing States (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries (LDCs). They provide a wide array of social and economic benefits to LDCs and SIDS, including from small-scale, artisanal fisheries, while also being tightly linked to their culture. Small-scale artisanal fishers are a fundamental part of SIDS and coastal LDC societies, but they can also be found in developed and other developing countries. Estimates suggest that workers involved in small-scale fisheries comprise over 90 percent of people employed globally in capture fisheries and related activities, and produce approximately half of the global catch. An ocean-based blue economy can include diverse components, from established ocean industries, such as fisheries, tourism and maritime transport, to emerging and new activities, such as offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, deep seabed extractive activities (where sustainable), and marine biotechnology. The mix of activities will depend on each country’s unique national circumstances, but will go beyond business as usual by providing social and economic benefits for current and future generations; restoring, protecting and maintaining the diversity, productivity, resilience, core functions, and intrinsic value of marine ecosystems; and being based on clean technologies, renewable energy, and circular material flows.

Over 330 voluntary commitments relate to some aspects of sustainable ocean-based economic development, with the development of a comprehensive blue economy the aim of close to fifty commitments, and the related concept of blue growth included in over twenty commitments. Sustainable tourism, aquaculture, shipping, fisheries and renewable energy were common components of these commitments. Market access for small-scale fishers was also covered by voluntary commitments.

This Community of Ocean Action aims to support its members in implementing their voluntary commitments related to sustainable ocean based economies by exchanging progress reports, experiences, lessons learned and good practices.
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  • Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
  • Mr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute (WRI)
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