Concept Paper


Oceans, seas and marine resources are central to the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainability of the Ocean’s resources is a global priority. The challenges of the blue economy are global and will require global solutions framed within national and regional priorities. Oceans, seas and lakes support human well-being and livelihoods and underpin poverty eradication, food security, employment, industry, innovation, sustainable communities, health, tourism and protection from natural disasters, and counteract the impacts of climate change as carbon reservoirs. However, human activities continue to threaten oceans and seas and marine resources with detrimental long-term impacts for humanity and the planet.

A Sustainable blue economy seeks to promote economic growth, responsible production and consumption, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the ocean and coastal areas, through the circular economy. At its core, it refers to the decoupling of socioeconomic development through ocean-related sectors and activities from environmental and ecosystems degradation.

The notion of sustainable blue economy is reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, the Call for Action of the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14 further recognizes the contribution of the ocean to sustainable development and sustainable ocean-based economies, by calling upon all stakeholders to support the promotion and strengthening of sustainable ocean-based economies, which, inter alia, build on sustainable activities such as fisheries, tourism, aquaculture, maritime transportation, renewable energies, marine biotechnology and seawater desalination as a means to achieve the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, in particular for SIDS and LDCs..

Objective of the Conference:

The Conference is preparatory to the 2020 Ocean’s Conference which Kenya will be co-hosting with Portugal. The goal of the Global Blue Economy Conference is to have action-oriented discussions pertaining to a sustainable blue economy strategy that is people-centric, with ocean-centric investments. The Conference will provide an opportunity for both developing and developed countries to explore:

  • The priorities and challenges of establishing a sustainable blue economy and its contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including maritime safety and security.
  • The innovative role of various stakeholders, including national and local governments, private sector, civil society, regional and sub-regional groups as well as domestic and international financial institutions in investing and formulating sustainable ways of exploiting Blue Economy.

In view of the above objectives, topics that may benefit from further consideration include the following:

  • How can States leverage the sustainable blue economy in their national policies and plans to strengthen implementation of the 2030 Agenda and related intergovernmental agreements, promote positive synergies and address negative trade-offs?
  • How can stakeholders promote and strengthen sustainable blue economy for leaving no one behind, by addressing poverty reduction, hunger and nutrition, equity and equality?
  • How can stakeholders foster prosperity through a sustainable blue economy for countries in special situations, in particular SIDS and coastal LDCs?
  • How can landlocked countries develop a Blue Economy?
  • How can science, technology and innovation be promoted in service of the sustainable blue economy?
  • How can the sustainable blue economy, global connectivity and responsible consumption and production be promoted in a mutually reinforcing manner?
  • How can the sustainable blue economy contribute to conserving and sustainably using marine and coastal ecosystems?


  • All Member States
  • Ministers of Oceans, Seas and Environment; Ministers of Economy; Ministers of Tourism
  • Mayors and Governors of Ocean/Lake facing cities
  • Regional Economic and Financial Institutions.
  • Private Sector
  • Shipping Industries and Associations
  • United Nations Funds, Programmes and Specialized Agencies