Publications

Blue Carbon Conservation in West Africa: A First Assessment of Feasibility

The loss of blue carbon ecosystems results in significant levels of carbon emissions and decreased supply of other ecosystem services. This study aims to provide a first step toward increasing the knowledge of the region’s blue carbon stocks, with a focus on mangroves, and of their financial value based on their carbon storage benefit alone.

Local Community Benefits from Ecosystem Services Provided by Mangroves on the North Brazil Shelf

This analysis seeks to evaluate the size and distribution of the services the mangrove ecosystem is providing to local communities in Suriname and Guyana. The study involves three components: (i) the description, from the scientific and grey literatures, of the mangrove ecosystem services specific to local communities in Guyana and Suriname; (ii) identification of methods that could be used to estimate the economic values of these services, and estimation of the economic values for mangrove forests’ fisheries support ecosystem service; and (iii) identification of local beneficiaries of these services.

Initial Measures of the Economic Activity Linked to Bangladesh’s Ocean Space, and Implications for the Country’s Blue Economy Policy Objectives

To support the Government’s effort to translate its blue economy aspirations into operational policies, an accounting exercise was conducted to provide initial measures of Bangladesh’s ocean-linked economic activity, as a baseline by which to set targets. The results suggest the contribution of ocean-linked economic activity in Bangladesh in 2014-2015 was just over 3% of national gross value added, derived relatively evenly from tourism and recreation, capture fisheries and aquaculture, transport and energy.

Mapping the Global Distribution of Locally Generated Marine Ecosystem Services: The Case of the West and Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Fisheries

Ecosystem service maps are instrumental for the assessment and communication of the costs and benefits of human-nature interactions. This article in the journal Ecosystem Services proposes an integrated way of assessing and mapping global flows of marine ecosystem services. It proposes a conceptual framework that integrates ecosystem service provision principles with value chain analysis and human well-being assessment methods, while considering the spatial dimension of these components in ecosystem service mapping. It applies this framework to the case of seafood provision from purse seine tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. 

Toward a Blue Economy: A Pathway for Sustainable Growth in Bangladesh

This report aims to synthesize current theory and practice of the blue economy concept to govern economic activity linked to the ocean, and to provide a framework for the Government of Bangladesh to analyze its potential.

Sustainable Ocean Economy, Innovation, and Growth: A G20 Initiative for the 7th Largest Economy in the World

The authors of this G20 Insights policy brief say that the G20 should initiate a global ocean governance process, and they call for ocean economy dialogues, strategies, and regional cooperation to ensure that investment and growth in ocean use become sustainable and reach their full potential. They note that the ocean is the largest and most critical ecosystem on Earth, with many interactions between the ocean Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) and other SDGs. Though potentially the largest provider of food, materials, energy, and ecosystem services, the ocean is stressed by increasing demand for resources, technological advances, overfishing, climate change, pollution, biodiversity, and habitat loss. Moreover, inadequate stewardship and law enforcement are contributing to the ocean’s decline. As a standing agenda item for the G20, and with associated good governance, a sustainable ocean economy can improve the health and productivity of ocean ecosystems. 

Blue Carbon Financing of Mangrove Conservation in the Abidijan Convention Region: A Feasibility Study

Coastal vegetated ecosystems have long benefited coastal communities and fisheries, and in recent years have been recognized internationally for their significant capacity to sequester and store carbon (“blue carbon”)—at rates that surpass those of tropical forests. Yet these ecosystems are being converted rapidly. Current annual mangrove deforestation has been estimated to emit 240 million tons of carbon dioxide. For this reason, financing mechanisms to pay those tropical countries that have significant blue carbon resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation have been explored as a means to fund mangrove conservation. This report by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Abidjan Convention Secretariat, and GRID-Arendal explores the potential of international carbon finance mechanisms to help fund mangrove conservation along the coast of West, Central, and Southern Africa that is covered by the Abidjan Convention and examines the scale of economic benefits that this conservation might provide for the region, including benefits not always recognized in traditional assessments or valuations. 

Making Sure the Blue Economy is Green

Given the growing and seemingly limitless capacity to industrialize the oceans, there is a need to reimagine how to effectively measure, monitor and sustainably manage this seventy-one percent of the Earth's surface. In a commentary for the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the Nicholas Institute's John Virdin and co-authors write that we are now at an inflection point in history, where we no longer look to the ocean solely for protein and waterways, but also as a source for many more aspects of our increasingly industrialized society. While much of our focus has been terrestrially based where impacts are easier to identify, the authors write, greater attention is needed on the industrialization of our oceans, which have long been considered as a source of inexhaustible resources and reservoirs for unwanted terrestrially generated waste.

North Carolina’s Ocean Economy: A First Assessment and Transitioning to a Blue Economy

North Carolina’s ocean and coastal areas and their resources shape a unique and important segment of the state’s economy, particularly for its eastern region. From seafood and commercial fishing opportunities, to access to global markets through shipping and transport, and finally tourism and recreation, thousands of jobs and billions in revenue for the state depend on the ocean and coast. Yet to date, this segment of North Carolina’s economy has not been identified as a discrete contributor in the state. This working paper provides a first assessment of the existing information available to measure the size and extent of North Carolina’s ocean economy, and proposes next steps to transition to a blue economy.

Toward a Strategic Action Roadmap on Oceans and Climate: 2016 to 2021

This comprehensive set of policy recommendations on oceans and climate for consideration at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 22nd Conference of the Parties and beyond is aimed at recognizing the central role of oceans in climate and the need to implement stringent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid disastrous consequences for coastal and island communities, marine ecosystems, and ocean chemistry. The recommendations from the International Expert Working Group on Oceans and Climate address mitigation, adaptation, displacement, financing, and capacity development.