OECD Ocean

Ocean economy and developing countries

More than three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods, the vast majority in developing countries. For many developing countries, ocean-based industries, such as tourism and fisheries, are key sources of income and jobs, and the way these sectors will develop in the future could either accelerate progress towards sustainable development or exacerbate the current unsustainable trends. Too often, these sectors have expanded with no sufficient consideration for environmental and social sustainability, creating low pay jobs and leading to environmental degradation. These sectors are also suffering from the impacts of climate change, ocean pollution and overfishing.

As economic activity in the ocean accelerates and the ocean becomes the center stage for a new range of economic activities, it is critical that developing countries be in a position to assess and balance the risks and rewards from new ocean-related economic activities and are able to turn new and emerging ocean-based sectors into catalysts for long-term and inclusive sustainable development.

To help meet these challenges, in early 2019 the OECD launched the Sustainable Ocean for All initiative led by the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD). This initiative offers original evidence and a policy space to support developing countries embark on sustainable ocean economies and to transition globally to a sustainable ocean economy that the poorest and most vulnerable countries, including small island developing states, can benefit from. More specifically, the Sustainable Ocean for All Initiative aims to: (i) enhance the knowledge base and policy options available to developing countries to achieve sustainable ocean economies; (ii) develop new evidence on development co-operation approaches to foster more effective and co-ordinated actions by international development co-operation actors in support of sustainable ocean economies in developing countries; (iii) align finance to the sustainable ocean economy, both public, private, international and domestic, through adequate domestic policies as well as better aligned development finance and international co-operation efforts; and (iv) increase opportunities for dialogue and mutual learning across countries and within ocean-related communities around the world, including ministries, agencies, academia, foundations, NGOs and the private sector.

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Data Platform on Development Finance for the Sustainable Ocean Economy

As part of the Sustainable Ocean for All initiative, the OECD has begun to quantify and track global development finance for the ocean economy, providing estimates of the share that is sustainable. This platform is based on the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and makes this data accessible for the period 2013-18.

This platform includes estimates on:

• Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the ocean economy;
• ODA for the sustainable ocean economy;
• ODA for land-based activities that reduce negative impacts on the ocean;
• Private finance mobilised via ODA for the ocean economy.

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