Trade and Environment Review 2023. Building a Sustainable and Resilient Ocean Economy beyond 2030

Trade and Environment Review 2023. Building a Sustainable and Resilient Ocean Economy beyond 2030

The oceans offer new opportunities for developing countries to create innovative and sustainable economies.

However, marine resources are under threat from climate change, increased pollution and uncontrolled fishing. This is stated in the new report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The publication contains an analysis of the impact of global crises on the "blue" economy.

According to experts of the organization:

  • In 2020, the value of exports of "ocean" goods and services (including fisheries, ships and port equipment, shipping and coastal tourism) was $1.3 trillion.
  • The European Union is the world's leading exporter ($459 billion), followed by China ($160 billion) and India ($34 billion).
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had less of an impact on the maritime sector than anticipated. In 2020, exports of goods and services fell by 3.2%.

Diversification of maritime exports is a key factor in increasing the sustainability of the blue economy. Among the most promising areas of development are the cultivation of seaweed and the production of plastic substitutes. World seaweed market in the period 2020-2020 more than tripled from $4.5 billion to $16.5 billion. What's more, seaweed doesn't need fresh water or fertilizer to grow. They can be grown for food, cosmetics and biofuels, and as an alternative to plastic.

UNCTAD experts call for increased international cooperation and increased funding to improve the sustainability of the oceans. Conservation and restoration of mangrove forests, decarbonization of international shipping, sustainable food production and development of wind energy are the main investment priorities. Investments in the above areas of $2.8 trillion are projected to generate a return of $15.5 trillion by 2050.

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