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Unctad: Why a sustainable blue recovery is needed

Why a sustainable blue recovery is needed – 21 July 2020 Written by:Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-GeneralDona Bertarelli, UNCTAD Special Adviser for the Blue Economy The world’s seventh largest economy based on GDP doesn’t belong to a single country, and isn’t even on land, yet it’s valued at around $3 trillion annually, and supports the livelihoods of more than 3 billion people. It’s the ocean. Worryingly, the
ocean and the blue economy it supports are not only in severe decline, the current mode of operating is no longer sustainable. We all rely on the ocean, which covers two-thirds of our planet, to regulate our climate, provide us with food, medicine, energy and even the very air we breathe. Put simply, without a healthy ocean, there is no life on Earth. But the natural assets that the blue economy depends on are fast eroding under the pressure of human activities. For example, 34% of all fish stocks are exploited at unsustainable biological levels or overexploited, while 60% are maximally sustainably fished or managed. This means that we have reached a celling, as 94% of all wild stocks are already being fully utilized, with about one-third exploited in an unsustainable manner. [Woman repairing fishing nets in Thailand, ©tong2530]Related Links Coronavirus (COVID-19) : News, analysis and resourcesDona Bertarelli named UNCTAD special adviser for the blue economyUNCTAD’s work on the oceans economy and fisheries Further, the ocean is becoming acidic due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide being absorbed by it. Rising water temperatures have killed up to half of the world’s coral reefs, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Most of the more than 3 billion people who rely on the ocean for their livelihoods live in developing countries. About 90% of all fishers live in these countries too. Also, 80% of the world’s goods are transported via maritime routes. And between 30% and 50% of the GDP of most small island developing states (SIDS) depends on ocean-based tourism. Source: UNCTAD

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