Volume 73

How can small islands harness the blue economy to build climate resilience and protect biodiversity?

Jadot, C.
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Date: November, 2020

Pages: 34-35

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Three Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Virtual

Country: Virtual


Small islands support a disproportionate amount of biodiversity. They are also amongst the most vulnerable to human colonization and the adverse effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise, changes in precipitation patterns, and increases in tropical storm intensity and frequency. There is growing recognition for the need to develop strategies specifically designed for small islands’ typically unique ecological fragility and economic vulnerability alongside the numerous opportunities they also possess. The recent COVID-19 crisis exacerbated the need to find sustainable Blue Economy initiatives that incorporate social, economic and ecological goals that will also allow to diversify the economy. To reach these goals, four key components have been identified. Long-term ecosystem based marine spatial management (EB-MSM) (1) and multi-level cooperation between islands (2) will be paramount. The advancement of ocean science and technology (3) will equally be key contributors in enabling responsible and sustainable Blue Economy. Finally, better governance, policies and regulations (4) must be implemented at the global, regional, national and local levels to protect our oceans, mobilize partnerships, boosts blue investments and build island resilience. However, a series of knowledge gaps will hindering our progression towards these goals such as a limited map data availability, our limited knowledge on the sensitivity of various ecosystem components to stressors, or the current and future interactions among stakeholders and possible conflict mitigation options to name a few. As a new world emerges from the 2020 crisis, small island nations business and political leaders have the opportunity to rebuild better by harnessing the potential of the Blue Economy to pave the way for more sustainable and resilient communities.

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