Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and the Blue Economy, World Bank
Too many countries have built their economies with their backs to the ocean. Since more than one-third of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of the coast, we must embrace the ocean as an engine of prosperity.
From fisheries and aquaculture to coastal tourism and transportation, the economic value of the ocean is conservatively estimated to be USD3 trillion annually by 2030.
Ocean prosperity in fishing and aquaculture
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that more than 1 in 10 people today depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. Fish are critical to food security and nutrition, particularly for the poor, and provide about 3.3 billion people with at least one-fifth of their average intake of animal protein.
The demand for blue food is only growing. For instance, the seaweed market is expected to grow to USD85 billion by 2026. With its ability to sink carbon, sustain marine biodiversity and unlock value chains, seaweed farming is one example of how to integrate development, climate and nature and make money. Moreover, this economy supports the women who derive their livelihoods from seaweed farming.
Unlocking the economic potential of our ocean to deliver jobs and opportunity is critical.
Supporting livelihoods while protecting oceans
Unlocking the economic potential of our ocean to deliver jobs and opportunity is critical. This is especially true for small island developing states — or large ocean states. The World Bank’s roughly $7 billion active ocean portfolio delivers growth and employs women and young adults while protecting marine biodiversity and the ability to sequester carbon.
We cannot have a world without poverty unless we unlock the power of the world’s largest source of natural capital — the ocean. We also can’t bend the curve of carbon emissions towards zero, nor stop the loss of biodiversity, without doing it sustainably.
Our investments focus on supporting policy reform, strengthening public institutions and building the infrastructure necessary to attract private investments that create local jobs and feed people. With help from PROBLUE grant resources that buy down the cost of borrowing, the World Bank supports activities like fisheries management in Bangladesh; tourism in Cabo Verde; tackling marine pollution in Indonesia. Together, this portfolio has positively impacted 50 million people — almost half are women.
Embracing the ocean as an asset today is how we will build the green, resilient and inclusive economies of tomorrow.