The Blue Economy concept involves the promotion of economic and trade activities that integrate the conservation and sustainable use and management of biodiversity, including maritime ecosystems. It is based on principles of equity, low carbon development, resource efficiency and social inclusion. It conceptualises oceans as “Development Spaces” where spatial planning integrates conservation and sustainable use of living and non-living resources, and advocates incorporating ocean values and services into economic decision-making processes.
The Blue Economy concept is particularly relevant in the context of Goal 14 of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals which focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, and is very timely in the lead up to the Climate Change COP in Paris where blue carbon will play a prominent role in discussions.
“We believe that the countries of South and South East Asia, with their vast expanses of coastlines and rich marine biodiversity, are particularly well placed to mobilise greater inter-regional cooperation to promote a blue economy approach aimed at generating livelihoods and building resilience against climate change challenges,” said HE Saida Muna Tasneem, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Thailand.
The 11 countries attending are Member countries of the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) regional initiative, co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP, and include: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Moving forward, it is expected that MFF will provide an enabling platform for Member Countries to interact and cooperate on mutual interests regarding the Blue Economy.
Butterfly fish and snappers in Trao Reef Marine Reserve, Van Ninh District, Khanh Hoa Province © MCD, 2013