Evidence-based and policy coherent Oceans Economy and Trade Strategies

The OETS project aims to support developing countries in realizing economic benefits from the sustainable use of marine resources. It will assist coastal and insular developing countries, particularly SIDS, in promoting the sustainable trade of products and services in ocean-based economic sectors by analyzing, elaborating and adopting evidence-based and policy-coherent ocean economy and trade strategies and contribute to building national capacities to implement them. This will be done under the perspective of UNCTAD Oceans Economy pillars.

 The project will be implemented by UNCTAD and the Office of Legal Affairs/Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) in cooperation with the Commonwealth Secretariat. Issues related to relevant legal and institutional frameworks under UNCLOS will be addressed in order to support the development of comprehensive national ocean governance frameworks. This will contribute to developing enabling national policy and regulatory frameworks for the sustainable management of the oceans and support the implementation of SDG 14.

The project will be implemented in three phases:

  1. Sector assessment and formulation phase,
  2. Validation and implementation phase, and
  3. Dissemination phase.

Three countries which expressed interest have been selected as beneficiary countries: Barbados, Belize and Costa Rica. In the case of Barbados and Belize the priciples found in the Commonwealth Blue Charter will be taken into consideration in the implementation of the project. This project is funded by the Development Account with support of UNDESA – the Commonwealth Secretariat will contribute with substantive and logistical support.

Expected outcomes
  • Improved capacity of national stakeholders to assess and identify promising products and/or services in key ocean economy-based sectors within the UNCLOS framework.
  • Strengthened capacity of stakeholders in defining policy options and implementing priority actions to support sustainable trade in products and services in ocean economy-based sectors in beneficiary countries.
  • Increased understanding at the regional level on how to design and implement OETS as tool to promote sustainable trade of products and services in ocean economy-based sectors within the UNCLOS framework.
  Project Code: 1819K
  Partners: United Nations Division on Oceans Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS)
  Donor: United Nations Development Account
  Beneficiaries:    Barbados, Belize, and Costa Rica










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13 December 2019Belize seeks to diversify, add value to seafood exports
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The oceans economy is an integral part of today’s development paradigm, emphasizing greener and more sustainable and inclusive economic development paths consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 14 (conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).
It seeks to sustainably expand the economic frontiers of coastal countries beyond their land territories in order to provide new economic, social and environmental benefits. Furthermore, deriving sustainable benefits from these economic frontiers should occur within an integrated and effective legal and institutional ocean governance framework.
The economic dimension of oceans clearly includes the international trade of living marine products and other natural resources and services. Trade could be an enabling factor shifting oceans-based economic activities from niche to mainstream global markets, particularly for developing countries where domestic markets remain small. Trade has played a role in making ocean-based sectors contribute to 13 per cent of developing countries’ current GDP, while providing employment to over 300 million and sustaining the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people in developing countries. However, rather than growing sustainably going forward, these critical economic contributions to developing economies growth are at risk of declining significantly unless efforts to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems are strengthened.
The United Nations General Assembly reaffirms annually in its resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. Target 7 of SDG 14  aims to increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs) from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism by 2030. Furthermore the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the 2030 Agenda, which was held in June 2017,  called for actions to support the promotion and strengthening of sustainable ocean-based economies, which inter alia build on sustainable activities such as fisheries, tourism, aquaculture, maritime transportation, renewable energies, marine biotechnology, and sea water desalination, as means to achieve the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, in particular for SIDS and LDCs. 

UNCTAD David Vivas Eugui, David.Vivaseugui@unctad.org

UNCTAD Marco Fugazza,  Marco.fugazza@unctad.org

DOALOS: doalos@un.org

Commonwealth: Rosemarie Cadogan r.cadogan@commonwealth.int

This project is implemented by UNCTAD and DOALOS, in cooperation with the Commonwealth.


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