Blue Growth by Design
Blue Growth by Design ensures conservation has a voice in ocean development—making the many connections between healthy oceans and other pressing global challenges including poverty, jobs, climate change and economic stability. If governments, industries and communities work hand-in-hand with conservation experts to shape these global trends, we can place blue growth on a sustainable trajectory.
Grounded in science, we can make smart development decisions. We, as the human race, know less about what goes on beneath the surface of the water that takes up 70 percent of our planet, than we know about the surface of the moon. We have to face this challenge.
The Nature Conservancy and our partners are conducting a first-of-its-kind mapping of the ocean’s full value to people, which can be seen at oceanwealth.org. We are taking a fresh look at mangroves, reefs, seagrasses and salt marshes in terms of jobs, food security, risk reduction, recreational revenue and other quantifiable functions. We are examining these values at local levels and in key coastal population centers around the world, where this information is needed to inform development decisions.
But nobody can do it alone—we must find new allies and financial drivers to ensure a thriving ocean economy for people and nature.
All Hands on Deck
In order to put the principles of Blue Growth by Design to work, we truly need all hands on deck. This is a moment for governments, communities, coastal planners, conservation experts and the private sector to work together to advance sustainable ocean development.
Our work in Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Eastern Caribbean is a good example. We are working with government agencies, the Red Cross of Grenada and local communities to understand the role of nature in coastal protection, the local economy and disaster preparation and recovery. Together, we are restoring mangroves and coral reefs that slow storm waves before reaching the community, produce fish for local consumption and market and reduce erosion of local beaches. These solutions support the local economy and increase resilience of the community. This is Blue Growth by Design.
Also, earlier this year we announced a first-of-its-kind impact investment debt for Nature Swap between the Conservancy, Seychelles Government and the Paris Club. The deal allows the country to redirect a portion of its current debt payments to fund much needed marine conservation, ocean-use planning and climate adaptation activities on the ground. This broad collaboration of stakeholders and organizations can put the Seychelles on a stronger sustainable path for growth, and is another example of how governments, communities, scientists and conservationists can work together.
And these principles can work on an even larger scale. When I took office in my previous role as the EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, only four fish stocks were being fished sustainably in the European Union. Today 27 stocks are being fished sustainably. This was only possible through intensive collaboration between communities, fishers, the seafood industry and government leaders. If projections hold over the next five years, we could see 15 million more tons of fish in the sea, 30 percent more jobs and the equivalent of over USD$2 billion in additional revenue.
This can work. And while we’ve still got a long way to go, these examples give me great hope for the future.