20 January 2014: Participants at the Blue Economy Summit adopted the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which describes the blue economy as a tool to promote, inter alia, sustainable development, poverty eradication and climate change mitigation in small island developing States (SIDS) and coastal countries.
The Declaration stresses the importance of an enhanced mechanism for governing the high seas and urges further development of an integrated ecosystem approach to maintain balanced, healthy and productive marine ecosystems, including valuing blue capital and considering blue carbon trading.
The blue economy concept emphasizes conservation and sustainable management of oceans and complements the green economy. The blue economy approach recognizes the productivity of healthy ocean ecosystems as a way to safeguard sustainable ocean-based economies, as well as to ensure that SIDS and other coastal countries benefit from their marine resources.
The Declaration also expresses concern about threats to oceans, including acidification, habitat destruction, pollution and unsustainable exploitation. It recognizes that States should enhance management to minimize and mitigate unsustainable exploitation of marine resources.
“The success of the pursuit of sustainable development will be won or lost in the oceans,” UN General Assembly President (PGA) John Ashe said, emphasizing that all Member States have a responsibility to act to protect oceans and seas.
Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), recommended regulating global fishing and phasing out fishing subsidies; promoting sustainable eco-tourism; and targeting SIDS’ specific needs in international support.
José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), stated that “We cannot keep using marine and aquatic resources as if they were endless. And we cannot keep using our oceans as a waste pool.” FAO announced it is establishing a Blue Growth Initiative to assist countries in developing and implementing blue economy agendas. The Initiative aims to foster innovation, investment, partnerships and policies to support sustainable management of aquatic resources, food security and poverty reduction.
Ashe, da Silva and Kituyi recognized the role of the blue economy in the post-2015 development agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the Government of the Seychelles, hosted the Blue Economy Summit, which took place from 19 to 20 January 2014, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. [Abu Dhabi Declaration] [Blue Economy Summit Website] [FAO Press Release] [Ashe Statement] [Kituyi Statement]