The COVID-19 crisis has cast uncertainties on the global ocean economy, especially for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) who suffered unprecedented economic impact, with GDP contraction in 2020 estimated at 7.1% in SIDS, compared to 4.4% in other developing countries. As countries implement economic stimulus packages in response to COVID-19, the Blue Recovery Hubs seek to support SIDS and other targeted countries in creating roadmaps for solutions that can “reset” and rebuild economic activities to deliver a more sustainable, equitable and resilient ocean economy.
The Blue Recovery Hubs are a joint initiative between the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Friends of Ocean Action and the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP) at the World Economic Forum, that seeks to support countries to accelerate progress towards a Covid-19 recovery that can provide the foundation for sustainable and resilient economic growth.
The BRH seeks to work with Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and other targeted countries to support them in: (i) the analysis of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their ocean economies, (ii) the identification of recovery actions and investment pathways to ‘Build Forward Bluer’, and (iii) mobilising support and funding and aligning development co-operation, investors and other actors around the implementation of recovery actions and investment priorities. The initiative aims to support countries to accelerate their economic recovery by enhancing the long-term sustainability of existing ocean economy sectors and generating new, sustainable opportunities that can lead to economic diversification and act as an SDG multiplier across multiple economic and social areas.
The work of the Blue Recovery Hubs will be implemented in the following three stages:
- Stage 1: COVID-19 Impact & Opportunity Appraisal report
- Stage 2: Recovery Actions and Sustainable Investment Pathway
- Stage 3: Roadmap and Partnership Roundtable
With the generous support of the UK Government's Blue Planet Fund, the Blue Recovery Hubs has partnered with Fiji to start rolling out the first stage of the project as its efforts in working towards a sustainable blue economy are leading examples of best practice. At the same time, economies such as Fiji’s – heavily reliant on services and tourism – have been some of the worst hit by COVID-19’s impact. As such, Fiji represents an opportune partner for the Hubs work to reach proof of concept.
As part of its mission, Blue Recovery Hubs hosted a Symposium on 14-15 December 2021 which provided an opportunity for dialogue and cross-fertilization across relevant initiatives, experts, countries and institutions working on the sustainable ocean economy planning and framework implementation – as well as the metrics for economic analysis and impact monitoring of these. The Symposium was applauded by participants and informed the first stage of the Blue Recovery Hub’s first pilot in Fiji which kicked off in 2022.
For further information: Silvia Guzzini, Engagement Lead, Friends of Ocean Action