This new OECD report on the ocean economy emphasises the growing importance of science and technologies in improving the sustainable economic development. The report recognizes that marine ecosystems are at the heart of many of the world’s global challenges: food, medicines, new sources of clean energy, climate regulation, job creation and inclusive growth. Marine ecosystem health should be safeguarded to support the ever-growing use of marine resources. This report identifies three priority areas for action based on a number of in-depth case studies:
- Approaches that produce win-win outcomes for ocean business and the ocean environment across a range of marine and maritime applications;
- Creation of ocean-economy innovation networks; and
- New pioneering initiatives to improve measurement of the ocean economy.
The report stresses sustained ocean observations are an essential part of worldwide efforts to better understand the ocean and its functioning. The derived data are crucial for many different scientific communities and for a wide range of public and commercial users active in the ocean economy. They underpin a wide range of scientific research, and critically support the safe, effective and sustainable use of ocean resources and the ocean environment. Developing and sustaining them requires significant public investment, the justification for which calls for rigorous assessment of the associated costs and benefits and value to society.
The report proposes fresh approaches to close the gaps. Solutions include improved tracking of users (both scientific and operational), the mapping of value chains, and improvements to methodologies through the development of international standards or guidelines for the valuation of ocean observations. Further OECD work will be ongoing in 2019-20 as to provide more evidence on the development of a sustainable ocean economy.