On 19 January 2016, Heads of State and Government, as well as representatives of international organizations, business and civil society, met in Abu Dhabi for the Second Blue Economy Summit in the framework of the emirate’s Sustainability Week. They discussed how to develop and apply the Blue Economy approach to support the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 14.
As co-organizer, alongside the Governments of Seychelles and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO was represented by its Executive Secretary, Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, who highlighted the Commission’s work.
“As the only specialized UN body in ocean sciences, observations and services, IOC is committed to help building the Blue Economy through education and capacity development, the Global Ocean Observing System, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Marine Spatial Planning, OceanTeacher Global Academy, and many other IOC programmes and initiatives,” he said.
He added that IOC will assist its Member States in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, by providing scientific support, especially as several of the targets relating to marine pollution, ocean acidification and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as capacity development and transfer of marine technology, are at the heart of the Commission’s activities. Sustained ocean observations and science, critical to achieving this goal, will therefore need to be based on an integrated scientific approach.
He also noted that economic return on investments into ocean science and observations will be the vehicle moving the Blue Economy forward.
Other key speakers included Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., President of the Republic of Palau; James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles; Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland; and Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change of the UAE.
The event concluded with the adoption of the Abu Dhabi 2016 Blue Economy Declaration, which reaffirms “that the Blue Economy, founded in line with and mutually supportive of the concept of the Green Economy, is a productive approach to the sustainable management of our seas and the ocean and thereby a significant contribution to the alleviation of global poverty, creation of sustainable livelihoods, increased food security, improved human well-being and social equity, accompanied by reduced environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” The Declaration can be found here.
The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is the annual global gathering that brings businesses and nations together to address challenges and celebrate achievements in sustainable development and clean energy.