The Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched in early 2019 the Sustainable Ocean for All initiative led by the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) to support developing countries harness the benefits of sustainable ocean economies. This initiative offers original evidence and a policy space to contribute to the international ambition for a transition to a global ocean economy that the poorest and most vulnerable countries can benefit from. It contributes to the ambition of the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the “conservation and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. With its special attention on small island developing states (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs), the report also directly contributes to SDG 14.7, which focuses on increasing the economic benefits from the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources for these countries.

The Sustainable Ocean for All Initiative aims to: (i) enhance the knowledge base and policy options available to developing countries to help them develop evidence-based policies and tools to achieve sustainable ocean economies that bring economic, social and environmental value; (ii) develop new evidence on development co-operation approaches to foster more effective and co-ordinated actions by international development co-operation actors; (iii) align finance to the sustainable ocean economy, both public, private, international and domestic, through adequate domestic policies as well as better aligned development finance and international co-operation efforts; and (iv) increase opportunities for dialogue and mutual learning across countries and within ocean-related communities around the world, including ministries, agencies, academia, foundations, NGOs and the private sector.

This report was developed by the DCD with the OECD Environment Directorate (ENV) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Directorate (STI) to leverage OECD’s multi-disciplinary expertise and unique statistical sources in policy areas relevant to the sustainable ocean economy. This report is the first attempt to bring together this expertise in an integrated fashion, with expert inputs provided from across the Organisation (e.g. fisheries, shipbuilding, shipping, tourism). It builds on the OECD Creditor Reporting System database and expertise on development finance and small island developing states; the OECD database on Policy Instruments for the Environment (PINE) and expertise on biodiversity and environmental policy; and the OECD work on measuring the ocean economy and on science and innovation for the ocean.

The report provides original and comprehensive evidence and policy guidance for policy-makers in developing countries and the international development community to address the growing pressures on the ocean and chart a new course for sustainable development through sustainable ocean economies. It presents new evidence on the economic trends of the ocean economy across developing countries, as well as policy options available for fostering more sustainable ocean economies. It also provides the first official estimates of official development assistance for the sustainable ocean economy, new evidence on how development co-operation is supporting sustainability across the spectrum of ocean-based sectors, and how it could help re-orient private finance for sustainable ocean economies.

As part of this work, Sustainable Ocean Economy Country Diagnostics were conducted in four countries in 2019-20: Antigua and Barbuda, Cabo Verde, Indonesia, and Kenya. These countries were selected based on the interest expressed by countries themselves and by members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, as well as on the potential and political leadership on the sustainable ocean economy. Through the Diagnostics additional information was collected through specific questionnaires and interviews to over 50 representatives from across national administrations, the private sector, academia and civil society.

Working with developing countries, as well as with member countries and emerging economies, the OECD aims to contribute to a global transition to sustainable ocean economies that can preserve the ocean, and its many benefits to humanity, for generations to come.

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