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(GoS 2013) The Blue Economy is a developing world initiative pioneered by SIDS but relevant to all coastal states and countries with an interest in waters beyond national jurisdiction. SIDS have always been highly dependent upon the seas for their well-being but the Blue Economy, whilst encompassing the concept of ocean-based economies, goes far beyond that. The Blue Economy conceptualises oceans as “Development Spaces” where spatial planning integrates conservation, sustainable use, oil and mineral wealth extraction, bio-prospecting, sustainable energy production and marine transport. The Blue Economy breaks the mould of the business as usual “brown” development model where the oceans have been perceived as a means of free resource extraction and waste dumping; with costs externalised from economic calculations. The Blue Economy will incorporate ocean values and services into economic modelling and decision-making processes. The Blue Economy paradigm constitutes a sustainable development framework for developing countries addressing equity in access to, development of and the sharing of benefits from marine resources; offering scope for re-investment in human development and the alleviation of crippling national debt burdens (GoS 2013).

The Blue Economy espouses the same desired outcome as the Rio +20 Green Economy initiative namely “improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities” (UNEP 2013) and it endorses the same principles of low carbon, resource efficiency and social inclusion, but it is grounded in a developing world context and fashioned to reflect the circumstances and needs of countries whose future resource base is marine. Fundamental to this approach is the principle of equity ensuring that developing countries:

  • Optimise the benefits received from the development of their marine environments e.g. fishery agreements, bio-prospecting, oil and mineral extraction.
  • Promote national equity, including gender equality, and in particular the generation of inclusive growth and decent jobs for all.
  • Have their concerns and interests properly reflected in the development of seas beyond national jurisdiction; including the refinement of international governance mechanisms and their concerns as States proximate to seabed development.

The mainstreaming of equity at international and national levels offers scope for developing countries to realise greater revenue from their resources and reinvest in their populace, environmental management, reduce national debt levels and contribute to the eradication of poverty and hunger.

At the core of the Blue Economy concept is the de-coupling of socioeconomic development from environmental degradation. To achieve this, the Blue Economy approach is founded upon the assessment and incorporation of the real value of the natural (blue) capital into all aspects of economic activity (conceptualisation, planning, infrastructure development, trade, travel, renewable resource exploitation, energy production/consumption). Efficiency and optimisation of resource use are paramount whilst respecting environmental and ecological parameters. This includes where sustainable the sourcing and usage of local raw materials and utilising where feasible “blue” low energy options to realise efficiencies and benefits as opposed to the business as usual “brown” scenario of high energy, low employment, and industrialised development models.

The Blue Economy approach recognises and places renewed emphasis on the critical need for the international community to address effectively the sound management of resources in and beneath international waters by the further development and refinement of international law and ocean governance mechanisms. Every country must take its share of the responsibility to protect the high seas, which cover 64 % of the surface of our oceans and constitute more than 90% of their volume.

The Blue Economy offers the potential for SIDS to alleviate one of their defining obstacles to sustainable development; namely that of a narrow resource base. The remarkable per capita marine resource area enjoyed by many SIDS means that the Blue Economy approach offers the prospect of sustained, environmentally-sound, socially inclusive economic growth. SIDS must prepare now in order to position themselves properly to realise the optimal benefits for their sustainable development from the coming blue revolution.

The emerging concept of the Blue Economy has been embraced by the Republic of Seychelles. As a first step, Seychelles has developed a concept paper for the Blue Economy (GoS 2013). In this concept, on-going maritime security efforts are matched by a focus on sustainability, resilience and responsibility, leading to economic prosperity (see here).

Seychelles has subsequently played a key role in promoting the Blue Economy concept as a central theme for the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States, held in Samoa in September 2014. Seychelles has committed to implement the Blue Economy concept at the national level as a framework to foster an integrated consideration for sustainable development programmes. However, some critical gaps remain for the implementation of the concept, such as a mechanism for its implementation at the national level. In this context, the Government of Seychelles is being supported by the Commonwealth secretariat during 2014-15 to deliver a national assessment of Seychelles’ state of preparedness to develop and implement the Blue Economy concept as a tool for economic diversification and growth. This initiative and others linked to management of the ocean space will provide the basis to develop a comprehensive national Blue Economy Strategy through which, a range of future development opportunities can be pursued. Seychelles held a first National Consultation on the Blue Economy in December 2014.

REFERENCES:

GoS (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

UNEP (2013). Green Economy Definition. http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/AboutGEI/WhatisGEI/tabid/29784/Default.aspx

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP Technical Team 2014) is a “public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives that have been specified through a political process” (Ehler & Douvere 2009). It can be used in the context of ecosystem-based management to address both human and ecosystem needs and move from a sector-by-sector to an integrated management approach. MSP varies regionally and by country because of the differences in public policies and legislation (TNC 2009). Marine areas may have different objectives and management agencies may use different combinations of tools, including zoning (Norse 2005).

Zoning has its origins in terrestrial planning. However, compared to terrestrial environments, marine environments are extremely dynamic, thus zones may need to be developed to account for both temporal and spatial variability (Norse 2005). Long distances may separate uses in time and space so intensity and frequency also need to be considered.

The Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Initiative is a process focused on planning for and management of the sustainable and long-term use and health of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a marine area covering 1,374,000km2 and encompassing the Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands. The MSP Initiative is a Government-led process, with planning and facilitation of the Initiative managed by a partnership between The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Government of Seychelles (GOS) – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Programme Coordinating Unit (PCU) – GOS/UNDP/GEF. Funding for the Initiative is being provided through a number of GOS/UNDP/GEF grants as well as an Oceans 5 grant awarded to The Nature Conservancy. The Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning Initiative takes an integrated, multi-sector approach. The process will include input from the major sectors of the Seychelles which use the country’s marine space such as fishing, tourism, conservation and petroleum development in order to develop a holistic climate-smart multi-use design, integrating the new challenges created by climate change into planning and management efforts.

This multi-use design will serve as the basis for guiding the strategies and decisions of the Seychelles Conservation & Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) established as part of the Government of Seychelles-led Debt-for-Climate-Change-Adaptation swap (http://www.seychellesmarinespatialplanning.com). Phase I of the MSP Initiative (February 2014 – June 2015) will produce a suite of design options, tools and management strategies (a draft zoning map) as a basis for further development and implementation of the national multi-use plan.

Several marine processes are underway in the Seychelles including a GOS-UNDP-GEF project ‘Strengthening Seychelles’ Protected Area System through NGO management modalities’ (See project details here). The goal of the protected area project is to ‘facilitate working partnerships between diverse government and non-government partners in the planning and management of the protected area system in Seychelles’. This protected area project will provide key outputs that will be useful for the Seychelles MSP Initiative, particularly for defining zones with objectives for biodiversity conservation, selecting new protected areas, and identifying potential conflicts amongst all uses. The process for incorporating the results of the Protected Area strategy and other planning processes underway in the Seychelles will be addressed by the MSP Initiative’s Steering Committee as per the Initiative’s governance model (http://www.seychellesmarinespatialplanning.com/structure/).

The Seychelles MSP Initiative, which includes zoning, is intended to incorporate, capture, or connect to other planning processes in the Seychelles, existing management plans for fisheries and other uses, national initiatives and policies, and international obligations, including the Debt-for-Climate-Change-Adaptation swap, the GOS-UNDP-GEF Protected Area Strategy and the Blue Economy. Zoning is an iterative process, and an on-going aspect is to obtain the spatial locations for uses to support the development of zones and accompanying management plans. As information is provided to the MSP process, the zones can be reviewed and revised, as needed or where necessary.

REFERENCES:

Ehler, C. & Douvere, F. (2009). Marine Spatial Planning: a step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Man and the Biosphere Programme. IOC Manual and Guides No. 53. ICAM Dossier, 6. Paris.

MSP Technical Team (July 2014). Zoning for the Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning Initiative: process, types, and tools. Report to the MSP Technical Working Group.

Norse, E.A. (2005). Ending the Range Wars on the Last Frontier: Zoning the Sea. In Marine Conservation Biology. Edited by E.A. Norse and L. B. Crowder. Island Press, Washington, DC. pp.422-443.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) (2009). Best Practices for Marine Spatial Planning: Advice from a workshop organized by The Nature Conservancy’s Global Marine Team August 2009.

In April 2014, a widespread and locally severe outbreak of Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci, COTS) was observed in the Beau Vallon Bay area (NW Mahé), posing the most serious threat to the ecological integrity and function of local coral reefs since the mass coral bleaching event in 1998 (Engelhardt 2014a). Highest densities of COTS were detected at Coral Gardens and Scala Reef, two reef sites located at opposite ends of Beau Vallon Bay. At these locations, COTS densities were found to be 20-30 times above sustainable levels with hard coral mortality rates of up to 60-75%. In the period from 15-19 April 2014, manual collection of COTS by SCUBA divers was coordinated by staff of the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles (MCSS). Local-scale COTS controls were successful in removing over 600 starfish, mostly from the most severe outbreaks at Coral Gardens and Scala Reef. However, several thousand COTS of varying sizes were estimated to have remained on the reefs around NW Mahé with an ongoing risk of further degradation across a number of reef sites in this area, particularly as adult COTS are highly mobile and able to undertake extensive migrations.

The active COTS outbreaks observed in April 2014 were comprised largely of adult starfish, with a minimum of three consecutive year classes or cohorts present at the most affected reef sites. However, a majority of the survey sites in the Beau Vallon Bay area also recorded significant numbers of juvenile COTS in the 6-15 cm size class, suggesting that there is a need to continue strategic COTS controls well into the foreseeable future, as this latest cohort continues to mature.

In November 2014, fine-scale surveys were carried out in the Beau Vallon area to determine COTS density estimates and trends analyses to provide an early warning capacity to trigger early interventions (Engelhardt 2014b). The dedicated SCUBA surveys were capable of detecting juvenile COTS down to approx. 1-2 cm diameter, estimated to be between 6 and 9 months old. This provides an early warning of potential new COTS outbreaks some 2-3 years before a full outbreak occurs.

The results were alarming: COTS were observed at all of the 10 sites, with COTS densities at or above the upper limits of sustainability (15-30 COTS/ha) at 8 out of 10 sites. The highest COTS densities (10-20 times above the upper limit of sustainability) were observed on reefs in the central Beau Vallon Bay area. Juvenile COTS (< 10 cm) were recorded at 5 out of 10 sites.

The sobering conclusion is that, if left uncontrolled, the current peak densities of COTS in the Beau Vallon Bay area may potentially reduce coral cover in the area to less than 10% within the next two years. 2-3 additional spawning seasons will provide further opportunity for COTS population spread.

This indicates that there is serious cause for concern. Engelhardt (2014b) suggests that the manual removal of COTS is time-consuming and risky and its low efficiency prevents a timely response. The specialist therefore advocates the injection of COTS with sodium-bisulphate or bile salts as the most efficient, effective and safe control method. He strongly recommends that effective controls using the injection method need to be carried out locally immediately; a targeted COTS Control Strategy & Action Plan needs to be developed and implemented urgently, and routine fine-scale surveys throughout the inner granitic islands need to be carried out on a regular basis if a halt is to be put to the destruction of coral in one of the most popular tourist beaches in the Seychelles.

REFERENCES:

Engelhardt, Udo (2014a). Status and Age Composition of Current Outbreaks of Crown-of-thorns Starfish on the reefs around North Mahé Island, Republic of Seychelles. Report to the UNDP-GoS-GEF Biosecurity Project: see here.

Engelhardt, Udo (2014b). COTS in Seychelles – Cause for Concern? Presentation to stakeholders: see here.

 

Considering that the Seychelles are more than 90% reliant on imported oil for its energy needs, it is not surprising that it is looking to find its own oil. As indicated in the 2015 Budget Speech by the Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment, Pierre Laporte, on December 15, 2014, the search for oil and gas in Seychelles’ waters continues and will soon be extended to the extended continental shelf. Presently, three companies are actively exploring, covering a total area of 35,639 km2. These three companies have invested a total of US$57 million on their activities in Seychelles. One of them has budgeted an extra US$19 million for 2015 in preparation for its well drilling commitment. Government has received two more applications for an area totalling just of 20,000 km2 and negotiations with the applicants will begin shortly (see report here).

It is of paramount importance for the marine biodiversity that oil exploration and potential extraction is accompanied by environmental impact assessments and mitigating procedures, as per international standards of best practice, in an effort to protect the marine environment from the negative consequences of this industrial activity. It is also necessary for production in particular to be managed by reputable international companies (not shell companies with limited liability) to ensure full investment in any mitigation or clean up, and full decommissioning operations.

Sea level rise and change in ecosystem status due to changing temperatures, from coral bleaching to impacts upon migration patterns, have been discussed at length in diverse international fora. Relatively new issues on the agenda, however, are Ocean Acidification and Blue Carbon  (GoS 2013).

Acidification: Oceans are estimated to have absorbed approximately 25% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide since the commencement of the industrial revolution, resulting in a 26% increase in the acidity of the Ocean (IGBP, IOC, SCOR 2013). Ocean acidification is known to have a significant impact: many organisms show adverse effects, such as reduced ability to form and maintain shells and skeletons, as well as reduced survival, growth, abundance and larval development. Acidification will also affect carbon accretion in coral reef building organisms causing net decreases in global coral reef coverage and associated species. Projections suggest that pH for the more vulnerable ocean regions could reach the aragonite tipping point within decades changing the very chemistry of ecosystems with potentially disastrous effects. As ocean acidity increases, its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere decreases, thereby reducing the ocean’s capacity to moderate climate change. There is currently no international mechanism to specifically address acidification, appropriate means need to be elaborated to enable coordinated international action.

Blue Carbon: Several key coastal habitats such as mangroves, salt marshes and sea grass meadows have been found to fix carbon at a much higher rate per unit area than land-based systems and be more effective at the long-term sequestration of carbon than terrestrial forest ecosystems (NOAA 2013).

Worldwide, mangroves have been reduced to 30-50% of their historical cover and 29% of seagrass habitats are estimated to have been lost in the last 150 years (Nelleman et al. 2009). In the Seychelles, mangrove forest was significantly reduced from its historical occurrence on populated islands, but has been considered relatively stable since the 1980s at approximately 25km2 (GoS 2014). The carbon sequestration role re-emphasizes the importance of maintaining, and, where possible, rehabilitating, such ecosystems as an opportunity for ecosystem climate mitigation and also for including them in carbon trading mechanisms.

Seagrass beds are widespread in Seychelles although not well mapped at present. Pilot mapping using satellite imagery, which can clearly distinguish sea grass beds and even differentiate between the species of seagrass that make up the beds, will commence in 2015.

REFERENCES:

Government of Seychelles (GoS) (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

Government of Seychelles (GOS) (2014). Seychelles Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020. Editors: John Nevill, Jacques Prescott, Nirmal Jivan Shah and Marie-May Jeremie.

IGBP, IOC, SCOR (2013). Ocean Acidification Summary for Policymakers – Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World. International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, Stockholm, Sweden.

Nellemann, C. et al (2009). Blue Carbon. A Rapid Response Assessment. UNEP, GRID-Arendal, ISBN: 978-82-7701-060-1

(GoS 2013) Marine and coastal tourism is of key importance to many developing countries. Despite the global economic crisis international tourism has continued to grow. Data indicate that international tourist arrivals increased by 4% to 1.035 billion in 2012, generating US$ 1.3 trillion in export earnings. The UNWTO forecasts further growth of 3-4% in 2013 (UNWTO 2013). This does not detract however from the vulnerability of economies so heavily dependent on a single industry. Tourism brings challenges in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, sewage, waste generation and loss or degradation of coastal habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

In the Seychelles (GoS 2014), the tourism sector is a main driver of development in terms of being the major employer and attracting foreign capital investment for infrastructure development, typically hotel resorts and related amenities such as marinas and golf courses. Assessing the costs and benefits of tourism development to biodiversity is complex and no quantified study has been undertaken. Tourism is one of the key drivers of coastal biodiversity degradation on the main islands of the central archipelago. To counter this, tourism infrastructure provides the clientele which makes possible the realisation of revenue from the non-consumptive use of biodiversity through ecotourism and the imbuing of value to biodiversity that finances its conservation. The great success stories of Cousin Island Special Reserve and the Vallee-de-Mai world heritage site have been enabled through revenue derived from tourism. Likewise the significant profitability of St Anne Marine and Curieuse Marine Parks funded and maintained the operation of the former Marine Parks Authority – prior to a shift in government policy that now prevents the MPAs retaining the revenue they generate and makes them reliant on (ever decreasing) Government budget allocations.

Tourism has been a key driver in the rehabilitation of small island ecosystems with significant investment of funds in IAS eradication programmes. The rehabilitation of small island ecosystems has seen major biodiversity conservation breakthroughs over the last 15 years in Seychelles. This trend is continuing and expanding with Foundations being established in several islands for the conservation and management of biodiversity by the parastatal Islands Development Company, the Islands Conservation Society and tourism operations and/or tenants’ organisations.

REFERENCES:

Government of Seychelles (GoS) (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

Government of Seychelles (GOS) (2014). Seychelles Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2020. Editors: John Nevill, Jacques Prescott, Nirmal Jivan Shah and Marie-May Jeremie.

UNWTO (2013). World Tourism Barometer. Vol 11, April 2013.

(GoS 2013) The growing human population, intensification of agriculture and the rapid urbanisation of coastal areas are all key land-based factors causing higher levels of pollution in our seas. World-wide, documented marine “dead zones” now number more than 400 covering an area of over 240,000 km2 including some of the formerly most productive areas of estuaries and shelf.

There has been an approximate threefold increase in the loads of nitrogen and phosphorous enrichment to the oceans since pre-industrial times (IOC/UNESCO, IMO, FAO, UNDP 2011). A recent study (Sherman & Adams 2010) estimates that the “business as usual” model of nitrogen input will result in an increase of 50% in the fluxes of inorganic nitrogen to the Ocean by the year 2050.

Sea-based sources of pollution are likely to be a growing issue as maritime shipping increases and submarine hydrocarbon/mineral exploration and extraction continue to expand (see Oil & Gas). Furthermore market forces are driving exploration in ever more extreme environments posing increased ricks of marine pollution as clearly demonstrated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Marine debris threatens the integrity of marine food chains. Plastic materials and other litter are widespread from the oceanic collection zones and gyres, through the glutinous mass of micro-plastics that can now be trawled from some waters to the debris and pellets often found in the gastrointestinal tract of sea and bird life.

The international mechanisms (e.g. Regional Seas Conventions, MARPOL) in place to address these matters need implementation with renewed vigour incorporating the analysis of the true costs and benefits of rectifying these concerns in the context of the natural blue capital.

In the Seychelles, tourists report waste when diving and snorkelling in the St. Anne Marine National Park. However, the problem also exists in the apparently more remote outer islands, as documented by a recent report from the Seychelles News Agency (see report here). 

REFERENCES:

Government of Seychelles (GoS) (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

IOC/UNESCO, IMO, FAO, UNDP. (2011). A Blueprint for Ocean Sustainability, Paris.

Sherman, K. & Adams, S. (eds) (2010). Sustainable Development of the World’s Large Marine Ecosystems during Climate Change.IUCN

(GoS 2013) The proportion of marine fish stocks estimated to be underexploited or moderately exploited declined from 40% in the mid-1970s to 15% in 2008, and the proportion of overexploited, depleted or recovering stocks, increased from 10% in 1974 to 32% in 2008 (FAO 2010). Fishing fleet subsidies are estimated to be between US$ 10-30 billion per year driving the further depletion of fisheries that have otherwise ceased to be economically viable. The benefits lost to fishing nations as a consequence of over fishing are estimated to be in the order of US$ 50 billion per annum (FAO/IBRD 2009).

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector now providing 47% of the fish for human consumption globally (FAO 2010). The last three decades have seen massive expansion in aquaculture operations raising concerns of environmental damage and unsustainable development models. Aquaculture sites have often been carved out of important natural coastal habitats with rapid expansion exceeding the capacity of planning controls and oversight. Aquaculture with fed species, if not managed properly, can impact biodiversity and ecosystem functions through excessive nutrient release, chemical pollution and the escape of farmed species and diseases into the natural environment.

It is essential that integrated ecosystem approaches are utilised in wild capture fisheries and aquaculture based on the best current scientific information with judicious application of the precautionary approach, and subsidies that encourage overfishing are removed.

REFERENCES:

FAO (2010). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Rome: FAO.

FAO (2012). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Rome: FAO.

FAO/IBRD (2009). The Sunken Billions – The economic justification for fisheries reform ISBN: 978-0-8213-7790-1.

Government of Seychelles (GoS) (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

(GoS 2013) The natural capital of many marine and coastal ecosystems has been degraded, impacting upon the provision of services and livelihoods. Approximately 20% of the world’s coral reefs have been lost and another 20% degraded (Wilkinson 2008). Mangroves have been reduced to 30-50% of their historical cover and it is estimated that 29% of seagrass habitats have disappeared since the late eighteen hundreds (Nellemann et al. 2009).

An ecosystem approach is required that factors in restoration of biodiversity and renewable resources, and proper management of resource extraction. For example in fisheries, some of the renowned “Sunken Billions” (FAO/IBRD 2009) could be restored providing the basis for productive, efficient, sustainable fisheries and enhanced food security. The scientific determination and designation of appropriate MPAs can play a key role in this regard reconstituting biodiversity, ecosystem services and general resilience to other system shocks. Currently, only some 2% of our oceans are protected, despite the CBD/WSSD 2012 target of a representative 10% area, whereas approximately 12% of terrestrial areas are under protection.

REFERENCES:

Government of Seychelles (GoS) (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

FAO/IBRD (2009). The Sunken Billions – The economic justification for fisheries reform ISBN: 978-0-8213-7790-1.

Nellemann, C. et al (2009). Blue Carbon. A Rapid Response Assessment. UNEP, GRID-Arendal, ISBN: 978-82-7701-060-1.

Wilkinson, C. (2008). Status of Coastal reefs of the world 2008. GCMRN.

(GoS 2013) In the context of the Blue Economy, food security is very closely related to the sustainable use of biodiversity particularly where it pertains to the exploitation of wild fisheries. 1 billion people in developing countries depend on seafood for their primary source of protein (GPO 2013).

Aquaculture offers huge potential for the provision of food and livelihoods, though greater efficiencies in provision of feed to aquaculture need to be realised, including reduced fish protein and oil and increased plant protein content, if the industry is to be sustainable. Aquaculture under the Blue Economy will incorporate the value of the natural capital in its development, respecting ecological parameters throughout the cycle of production, creating sustainable, decent employment and offering high value commodities for export.

REFERENCES:

Government of Seychelles (GoS) (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp.

GPO (2013). Global Ocean Partnership. http://www.globalpartnershipforoceans.org/

(GoS 2013). Each sovereign country is responsible for its own resources and sustainable development. This national responsibility and importance of national polices and development strategies should not therefore be downplayed. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, however, still applies. Indeed the need for structured international cooperation underpins all aspects of the Blue Economy. Whether it be with regard to updating and advancing governance mechanisms to ensure the sustainable development of waters beyond national jurisdiction (e.g. maritime security, high seas MPAs, sustainable fisheries, oil and mineral extraction) or assistance in enabling the effective management and utilisation of national EEZs (e.g. technology transfer, technical assistance, marine spatial planning), capacity building, finance to support national marine spatial planning and effective monitoring, control and surveillance).

A key component of international cooperation for the Blue Economy approach is research. A science-based approach is essential to the development of the Blue Economy; commencing with the initial assessment and critically the valuation of the blue capital at our disposal. This will provide a basis for informed decision-making and adaptive management. This major undertaking must be addressed and continually refined and upgraded in line with changing circumstances, evolving technologies and our increasing understanding; or the Blue Economy approach will founder. This underlines the importance of technical assistance, technology transfer and capacity building to the pursuit of sustainable development.

REFERENCES:

Government of Seychelles (GoS) (2013). Seychelles Concept Paper on the Blue Economy. September 2013. Unpublished report. 13 pp