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Ocean Risks in SIDS and LDCs

October 20, 2021

Coastal communities Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are unique in their position of vulnerability towards ocean-derived risks. They have high levels of exposure and sensitivity to these risks, in part owing to the heavy dependency on the sea for fisheries and tourism – core sectors that support their GDP, livelihoods as well as food security. The situation in these countries is changing rapidly, as is their exposure to different types of risks, and their ability to adapt and respond. The high dependence of many developing countries on tourism and imports and concomitant effects of the current pandemic and tropical cyclone Harold, for instance, are examples of how fragile some of the existing means of livelihood and food security are to external forces.Through a synthesis of peer-reviewed and grey literature, empirical data, and case studies from SIDS and LDCs, this report describes the prominent biophysical and anthropogenic stressors and their impacts on SIDS and LDCs, highlights the key social-ecological features of SIDS and LDCs that shape their vulnerabilities to these stressors, and suggests potential ways that can support SIDS and LDCs to mitigate ocean risks and build resilience.Additional reports in this series are Blue acceleration: an ocean of risk and opportunities and Gender dynamics of ocean risk and resilience in SIDS and coastal LDCs.

Blue acceleration: An ocean of risk and opportunities

October 20, 2021

The prospect of a new era of blue growth poses unprecedented sustainability and governance challenges for the ocean, as marine ecosystems face cumulative pressures from local human impacts, global climate change and distal socioeconomic drivers. Driven by increasing consumption patterns, land-based sources decline, and technological progress, the hopes and expectations for the ocean as an engine of future human development are increasing and have become ubiquitous. Consequently, the prospect of a new era of blue growth is increasingly finding its way into policy documents and depicting the marine realm as the next economic frontier, resulting in considerable investments and the emergence of new ocean-based industries with a diversity of interests. This new phase in humanity's use of the ocean, dubbed the "Blue Acceleration", exhibits a phenomenal rate of change over the last 30 years, with a sharp acceleration characterising the onset of the 21st century, in stark contrast to the slow pace at which new policy is being developed. With two-thirds of the ocean lying beyond national jurisdiction and a fragmented ocean governance landscape, this poses great challenges and calls for a rapid transformation towards improved sustainability. But this scramble for the seas also poses issues of equity and benefit sharing: if there is a rush for the ocean, then who is winning? And who is being left behind?Through a synthesis of peer-reviewed and grey literature, empirical data, and case studies from small island developing states (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries (LDCs), this report describes how issues of equity and benefit sharing are playing out in the Blue Acceleration, highlights how SIDS and LDCs are at particular risk to stranded assets, and explores the role that finance, public or private, can play in assisting transformation towards an equitable and sustainable Blue economy. Additional reports in this series are Ocean Risks in SIDS and LDCs and Gender dynamics of ocean risk and resilience in SIDS and coastal LDCs.

Gender dynamics of ocean risk and resilience in SIDS and coastal LDCs

October 20, 2021

Both fisheries and tourism have been highlighted as pivotal sectors to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Women play important roles across fisheries value chains and throughout the tourism sector. Yet women's roles, contributions, priorities and interests tend to be overlooked and undervalued across sectors as well as in policy and management. In addition, because of restrictive social-cultural norms women are underrepresented in policy and decision-making. Gender discrimination threatens to increase women's vulnerability to ocean risks. Advancing gender equality benefits women and girls through improved welfare and agency. These benefits extend beyond the individual to women's households and communities, helping countries realise their full development potential, especially within the context of a Blue Economy.Through a synthesis of peer-reviewed and grey literature, and numerous case studies from Small Island Developing States SIDS and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), this report highlights gender roles in two key sectors of the ocean economy (small-scale fisheries and coastal tourism), describes the gendered dimensions of ocean risks, and summarizes efforts across SIDS and LDCs for gender equitable approaches to building resilience to ocean risks.Additional reports in this series are Blue acceleration: an ocean of risk and opportunities and Ocean Risks in SIDS and LDCs