What exactly entails the blue economy? What does it have to do with the green economy? If you have ever wondered, here are few of your questions answered.
According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.” The Blue economy entails the cautious and sustainable use and maintenance of marine resources. It is basically a version of ‘green economy’ but refers to all the water bodies on our planet. The effects that climate change has on ocean life and ultimately human life is on a steady rise. About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually – of those, 236,000 tons are microplastics – tiny pieces of broken-down plastic that are smaller than a fingernail. Melting glaciers are making the oceans rise and greenhouse gases are increasing its acidification above normal levels. Healthy oceans are vital for our sustenance as they mediate temperature and drive the weather. After all, we are not known as the Blue Planet for nothing.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched an Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies for the Asia and Pacific region at the 52nd Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors in Fiji on 2nd May 2019. This plan aims at increasing finances dedicated to ocean preservation. It will expand financing for marine economy projects up to $5 billion from 2019 to 2024 which will include funds from partners too.
This mega action plan intends on investing in sustainable marine economics that will result in poverty alleviation in Asia and the Pacific. They have divided their main focus system into four parts – creating inclusive livelihoods and business opportunities in sustainable tourism and fisheries; protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems and key rivers; reducing land-based sources of marine pollution, including plastics, wastewater, and agricultural runoff; and improving sustainability in port and coastal infrastructure development. A lot of communities in Asia and the Pacific are very dependent on ocean ecosystems for their livelihood and these happen to be the prime centres of marine pollution. There is a delicate line between sustainable use of marine resources and an exploitative use. This action plan aims at increasing awareness about sustainable ways which reduces pollution.
In the capitalist world that we live in, private companies can play a breakthrough role in saving our oceans. As a major part of the action plan, ADB will also launch the Oceans Financing Initiative to create ample opportunities for the private sector to invest in projects that will improve overall ocean health. The initiative will provide technical assistance grants and funding to in the form of credit risk guarantees and capital market ‘blue bonds’.
The ADB also held a regional workshop, during the annual meet, on Blue Economy, Disaster Risk Financing, and Ocean Infrastructure to examine the rising threat of national disasters and economic disruptions in Asia and the Pacific due to climate change. Analogous to the Action Plan, the objective of this workshop was to empower officials to deploy policies that foster sustainable blue economies in the face of climate change and to advance sustainable development goals.
The ADB is committed to achieve the eradication of extreme poverty in Asia and the Pacific and attain overall prosperity, resilience, and sustainability.