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Blue Economy Summit 19 - 20 January 2014
19 - 20 Jan 2014
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The goal of the meeting is to discuss how to utilise the Blue Economy as a tool to shift development in small island development states (SIDS) and coastal states towards a sustainable development trajectory building on the Rio+20 consensus.

Noting that the Blue Economy, founded in line with the concept and principles of, and mutually supportive with the Green Economy, is a tool that offers specific mechanisms for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and coastal countries to address their sustainable development challenges.

'Blue Economy Summit’ Stresses the Role of Oceanic Nations in Global Sustainability

The ‘Blue Economy Summit’ was held today in Abu Dhabi to address the unique climate and sustainably challenges facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and marine ecosystems, where 180 participants from governments and organisations from around the world were present.

“The importance of the Blue Economy to humankind cannot be underestimated: over 70% of our planet is covered by ocean; 90% of the world’s trade in goods is conducted by sea. Oceans transcend states. They connect us all to each other. And we must harness these connections for development, not just enrichment," said President James Michel during his address at the opening of the summit.

“We also need to ensure that the benefits from economic activity in our oceans translate into real benefits for our populations. We cannot consider that it is sustainable for certain large industrial fishing fleets to exploit the resources of one sea to the point of exhaustion and then simply move on to other areas. Inclusion, ownership and empowerment of coastal populations are core elements of implementing the Blue Economy.”

The event was also attended by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, Lord Tu‘ivakanō, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tonga, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the President Of Iceland, and Ambassador John Ashe, the President of the 69th Session on the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. José Graziano da Silva, the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) and Dr Naoko Ishii, the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Environment Facility(GEF).

During the Blue Economy summit, the Seychelles Government launched the book “The Blue Economy – Seychelles’ vision for a Blue Horizon” as well as a publication on Seychelles in collaboration with First Publishers.

Today’s summit is a continuation of the blue economy concept, which was introduced and debated during the United Nation’s Rio+20conference held June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. As a result of Rio+20, the blue economy concept – and the urgency to build resilient marine ecosystems – was recognized as a central theme of global sustainable development, climate mitigation and poverty eradication.

The Blue Economy Summit in Abu Dhabi is an important milestone in identifying the right policy frameworks that support the shift of SIDS and coastal regions toward sustainable development. How island nations and ocean-linked communities adopt a sustainable trajectory will again be addressed during the United Nation’s Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, September 2013, in Apia, Samoa.

“The UAE is working closely with the international community to address sustainable economic growth, global food security, environmental protection and the impacts climate change,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. “From our fishing to our tourism industry, maintaining the health of our coastlines, mangrove forests and oceans is vital to our economy," he said.

“Today’s Blue Economy Summit places a renewed emphasis on the critical need to address the long-term sustainability of our international waters,” added Dr. Al Jaber. “We must work together to find the right policy frameworks and commercial opportunities to balance and protect the health of our oceans.”
The Blue Economy Summit, which ran January 19-20, was co-hosted by the Governments of Seychelles and the UAE .

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, January 18-25, is an annual platform to address the interconnected challenges impacting the widespread adoption of renewable energy and the acceleration of sustainable development. The platform includes a series of events: the fourth general assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency; the seventh World Future Energy Summit; the second International Water Summit; the first EcoWASTE exhibition; and the sixth Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony.

President James Michel also attended the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the sixth Zayed Future.

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