News: 3rd Call: MPAs, Area-Based Management and the Blue Economy

The third OIC Call for Proposals was launched on 10 February 2022 and closes on 09 April 2022, 23:59 CET.

From plastics and nutrient pollution to overfishing to climate change, two-thirds of the global ocean is considered to have been negatively impacted by human activities. To recover and benefit from the broad range of ecosystem services the ocean provides to humanity, from food security to nutrient cycling to climate moderation, we need to move to ecosystem-based management of marine ecosystems that are integrated, cross-sectoral, and highly participatory.  Area-based management approaches such as Marine Spatial Planning, Integrated Coastal Management, and the Large Marine Ecosystems (LME) approach have all shown promise in achieving these objectives. In its recently completed work, leaders from 14 countries on the High-Level Panel on a Sustainable Blue Economy committed to sustainably manage 100 percent of their national waters by 2025. This High-Level Panel called upon other nations to match their ambition towards having all of the world’s ocean Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) under sustainable management by 2030.

There is now wide evidence that the establishment and effective management of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) plays a vital role in protecting and restoring marine ecosystems of all types.  Studies have demonstrated that properly managed MPAs can increase species diversity, fish size, density and overall biomass.  MPAs in certain types of ecosystems, such as seagrass and mangroves, can provide important ‘blue carbon’ sinks, reduce climate change impacts, and improve ocean health.  MPAs help local economies by preserving existing jobs and creating new ones such as ecotourism. And, by promoting sustainable use of harvested marine resources, MPAs can ensure long-term food security and improved economic opportunity for local populations. According to the MPA Atlas, about 6.1% of ocean area within national jurisdictions (EEZs) and 0.8 percent of the high seas has implemented fully/highly protected areas.  While positive, many scientists agree that overall protection levels as high as 30 percent will be required, underscoring the need for continued progress on Marine Protected Areas.

The Blue Economy concept is increasingly recognized as an opportunity for coastal communities and nations to realize enhanced social and economic benefits from the sustainable utilization of their ocean and coastal resources. From Southeast Asia to most of the world’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the blue economy is often already a significant component of national economic activity. Towards realizing their blue economy ambitions, many countries are now preparing national blue economy assessments/diagnostics, strategies and plans. A key challenge to enhancing a country’s blue economy is the identification of new and additional areas of economic activity that are environmentally and socially sustainable and have viable business models that can attract private investment.

Building upon the above, the third OIC Challenge seeks innovative solutions that address one or more of the following SDG 14 targets:

  • 14.2 By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts including by strengthening their resilience and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
  • 14.5 By 2025 conserve at least ten percent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
  • 14.7 By 2030, increase the economic benefits to small island developing states and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.

Please note that eligible activities for this call under SDG 14.7 should advance blue economy by focusing on new and additional ocean-related activities, outside of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, which were featured in the 2021 call.

Project proponents can include governments, private companies (including start-ups), NGOs/CSOs, United Nations entities, academic institutions, and intergovernmental organizations.

While proponents may be based in either developed or developing countries, OIC innovations must directly benefit developing nations, e.g. those that are currently considered UNDP programme countries.

Learn more here

News Posted on 22/03/2022