solberg3_Dmitry FeoktistovTASS via Getty Images_oceanfishing Dmitry Feoktistov/TASS via Getty Images

Envisioning a Blue Recovery

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is global, and national recovery efforts must be globally focused to seize shared opportunities. Nowhere is this more evident than in the global domain that unites us – the ocean.

OSLO/NGERULMUD – From Jamaica to Palau and Norway to Indonesia, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is global, and national recovery efforts must be globally focused to seize shared opportunities. Nowhere is this more evident than in the global domain that unites us – the ocean. We now need to harness the potential of 70% of the planet to provide a “blue boost” to our economies, while building a more resilient and sustainable world.

The ocean is central to life on earth. It absorbs a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions and captures more than 90% of the additional heat they generate. The ocean economy is worth over $2.5 trillion annually. It provides seafood to over three billion people each day and a livelihood for three billion. It transports around 90% of world trade. It is a source of energy and key ingredients for fighting disease. For many of us, it is a workplace and a home.

We represent countries that look extensively to the ocean for essential services and provisions, from aquaculture in the Norwegian fjords to tourism and fisheries off Palau. While our challenges are different, we are linked by the fact that the pandemic has put much of this at risk. The global tourism industry faces profound challenges in 2020 and many uncertainties in future years, with any recovery likely to be long and hard. Palau, for example, is projecting a decline of 52% in tourist arrivals in 2020 and 92% in 2021, leading to a 23% decline in GDP. Food security is also at risk. Supply chains have been disrupted due to social distancing and quarantine measures, with the fishing and seafood sectors particularly vulnerable.

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