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The Blue Economy Summit Adopts The Abu Dhabi Declaration

Monday, 03 February 2014
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. Heads of States and Governments and high-level representatives met in the Blue Economy Summit as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week* and in preparation for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa in September 2014, with the participation of civil society.

The topic of the meeting was how to utilise the Blue Economy as a tool to shift sustainable development in small island development states (SIDS) and coastal states in the framework of the Rio+20 consensus.  

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told during the summit that “the concept of a "blue economy" that came out of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference will have an important role to play in achieving the post-2015 global sustainable development goals.” The blue economy model emphasizes conservation and sustainable management, based on the premise that healthy ocean ecosystems are more productive and represent the only way to ensure sustainable ocean-based economies. It also aims to ensure that small island developing states and developing world coastal states equitably benefit from their marine resources.

To support a shift to this new approach, FAO is establishing a new Blue Growth Initiative, through which the Organization will assist countries in developing and implementing blue economy and growth agendas.

Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD said that ‘‘the concept of the "Blue Economy" serves to complement that of the "Green Economy" by rightly highlighting the environmental challenges facing the world's oceans, which - after all - account for two thirds of the surface of our blue planet. As crucial providers of food, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and energy, oceans are true global commons, whose degradation would have disastrous consequences for all of mankind.’’

Participants adopted the Abu Dhabi Declaration which in its considering part, recognizes, inter alia, the  fundamental importance of the marine environment and its resources to future, inclusive sustainable development, especially in regard to fisheries, tourism, , renewable energy, hydrocarbon and mineral resources, and global trade;  it expresses concern about threats to oceans, including acidification, habitat destruction, pollution and unsustainable exploitation; and it underlines that for many States transition to a Blue Economy will entail a fundamental, systemic change in policy, legal and governance frameworks. The Declaration, proclaims that the Blue Economy offers significant applications and benefits by offering a framework to protect and enhance the value of marine and coastal systems through an integrated approach; it stresses the importance of enhanced mechanisms for governance of the high seas; it reaffirms the integral importance of cooperation, both national and international, including civil society organisations; and it urges States, international agencies and donors to develop means to support and facilitate the implementation of the Blue Economy in developing countries.

*Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is an annual platform to address the interconnected challenges impacting the widespread adoption of renewable energy and the acceleration of sustainable development. The platform included a series of events, such as the fourth general assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, the seventh World Future Energy Summit, and the second International Water Summit.

Sources: FAO, IISD Reporting Services
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