This report addresses oceans’ issues of relevance to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as:
? The concept of the oceans economy, also referred to as the blue economy, is one that simultaneously promotes economic growth, environmental sustainability, social inclusion and the strengthening of oceans ecosystems.
? The oceans economy is subject to a multilayer regulatory framework under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other national, regional and multilateral as well as sectoral governance regimes.
? The oceans economy can contribute to addressing some of the concerns associated with economic and environmental vulnerability, including those associated with remoteness, by fostering international and regional cooperation under an ‘ocean space approach’, which is also expressed in the literature as marine spatial planning.
? An ocean space approach requires the development of a more coherent, integrated and structured framework that takes account of the economic potential of all marine natural resources, which include seaways and energy sources from the oceans.
? The oceans economy offers significant development opportunities and also raises challenges for SIDS in sectors such as sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, renewable marine energy, marine bio-prospecting, maritime transport and marine and coastal tourism.
? Fisheries represent a significant part of the economic output of many SIDS. As the demand for fish products continues to grow, SIDS need to explore options directed at securing economic benefits while ensuring sustainable management of these resources.
? SIDS could explore ways to mainstream the generation of renewable energy into their national and regional planning and energy mix. The potential exists to increase offshore wind-generated electricity and the use of algae biomass in the production of fuel.
? Bio-prospecting of marine genetic resources offers interesting opportunities for benefit-sharing and creation of scientific capacities in SIDS, especially in relation to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food products development.
? Current incentives for ship registration could be better leveraged by linking them to financial and ship classification services. Moreover, developing sustainable and resilient regional maritime or multimodal hubs and enabling the provision of incidental services (such as port-related storage, insurance and financial services), as well as sustainable and reliable transport services, can assist in addressing the challenges faced by SIDS regarding maritime transport and improving trade connectivity.
? Tourism can also be mainstreamed into national and regional planning. Facilitating travel routes and the operation of service providers in transport, information and communications technologies (ICTs) and financial services could strengthen SIDS’ appeal to both investors and travelers. Links with maritime and air transport, such as open seas and skies agreements, could be further explored.