After hosting the first Blue Economy Conference in 2018, the Western Indian Ocean region is now fully engaged on the road of developing its blue economy. Such economy represents great promises for the region in terms of economic benefits, but it is of paramount importance that such economy develops on sustainable premises that ultimately enable the conservation of the blue natural capital of the region as well as provide direct benefits to local communities.
Several Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and other high-level blue economy processes are under development. In parallel, it is becoming increasingly evident that there is an urgent need to support local stakeholders to become actors of such development as well as future drivers of its implementation and management.
As the world embarks on an ambitious journey to effectively conserve a large portion of its ocean (current discussion on beyond 2020 ocean conservation targets include a target of 30% by 2030), it is evident that new management modalities will have to be established to achieve effectiveness and avoid having a large area of paper parks without achieving conservation outcomes. In such context, it is increasingly agreed that Indigenous People and Local Communities (IPLCs) as well as the private sector will have a key role to play. Therefore, empowering these actors and creating the enabling frameworks for them to engage effectively in marine and costal conservation and sustainable use is of paramount importance.
In order to support such development, IUCN has taken the initiative to establish a web portal that will aim at responding to the need of the region and its partners to support the development of a sustainable, inclusive and resilient blue economy where marine and coastal conservation constitute of its key pillar. This initiative, called the Blue Planet Hub (BPH), will catalyse knowledge production and capacity building efforts in the region to enhance effective marine and coastal conservation at scale. It will create an easy access to relevant data, publications and tools to enable sound, effective and informed decision-making and enhance management effectiveness and governance from field managers up to high-level decision makers at national and regional levels.
The Blue Planet Hub will also aim at supporting MPA managers and practitioners by catalysing resources related to (this list is not exhaustive):
- New technologies that could enable more effective and efficient management.
- Funding opportunities relevant to partners
- Innovative business models (including related to MPA/LMMA business model development) that could support the development and implementation of a blue economy.