The Blue Economy is another addition to an inundated list of terms and concepts that have come to life as a result of awakened human conscious towards the plight of the environment. According to the World Bank, Blue Economy is “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.” This term is closely associated with “Ocean Economy” and sometimes used interchangeably. The fact is that the Blue Economy seems to be a new kid in town while considering an integrated use and conservation of ocean resources. Blue Economy, unlike the Ocean Economy, captures the economic prosperity of global waters as well as the ecologic requirements needed in keeping the integrity of the same resources.
In 2018 of November, the first ever blue economy conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya where Kenya co-hosted alongside Japan and Canada. The theme of the Conference oscillated around “Harnessing the potential of our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the lives of all, particularly people in developing states, women, and youth and Indigenous Peoples” and “Leveraging the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving our waters for future generations.”
The above theme sums up the intention of the world as a whole in treating and beginning to take seriously the need to conserve oceans. Many questions have been raised in the past decades on how the global nations are utilizing the ocean resources in a more meaningful yet conservative manner. My personal view of the blue economy is however wide and pragmatic. I would look at this concept from various minute but significant angles:
Energy renewal is a concept that has been put into actions by harnessing the various sets of ocean energy. Just like hydropower, ocean power has the greatest potential to turn the world into a greener globe. If the potential for energy from the oceans is harnessed effectively, there shall be no need for any other source. In the end, ocean energy is sustainable yet it shall build the world economies on unshakeable pillars of ecological integrity.
Fisheries are a key component of oceans. Nearly $210 billion is added to the global GDP by fisheries. Actually, a more sustainable fishery can generate more revenue for countries. Sustainable fisheries rest on controlling fishing and mainly in preventing by-catch. It also rests in controlling the types of fish to be harvested. It goes all the way to establishing firm fish industries for indigenous.
Oceans are the leading tourism destinations across the world. They are favorable due to the calming environment they provide to visitors. The revenues from tourism are great GDP generator for developing countries as well as an economic activity that promotes livelihoods.
Climate change is inextricably linked to the blue economy. Not only are oceans important as carbon sinks, their vastness, and natural power determines the trends that global climate change follow. Sustainable utilization of ocean resources shall, thus, improve the climate change outcomes in the long run.
Maritime transportation is still the most efficient yet cheap way of transporting cargo from one part of the world to another. Close to 80% of international goods are transported through oceans. With a secure oceans trade across the globe is enhanced then local economies are improved.
The above concepts on the Blue Economy revolve around the need to make oceans the center of the world’s attention. While natural, oceans greatly suffer from anthropogenic activities and unless such is checked the benefits discussed herein shall dwindle. A sustainable ocean system is an economically viable system.
World Bank (2017). What is the Blue Economy? Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/infographic/2017/06/06/blue-economy.