The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes. It is estimated that the pandemic may generate a decline of world trade by a third this year. The Blue economy accounts for about 3.5 to 7 per cent of global GDP. Blue economy sectors, such as coastal and maritime tourism, fisheries and seafood production, maritime transport and logistics are being heavily affected. Disruption of supply side capacity, such as transport routes, limited access to ports and logistic closures, falling demand of some fish products and tourism activities, and a potential rise in the number of sanitary and regulatory measures are undermining these sectors.
Yet, the impacts among blue economic sectors are uneven, as the level of restrictiveness and type of measures taken varies among affected countries in terms of depth, type of activity and timing. Also, the time and steps for easing or lifting measures could be quite different among countries depending on the capacity to manage the spread of the disease among the population and capacity levels of sanitary services. Given the unprecedented nature of threats and the disruptions caused by COVID-19, countries are implementing policy responses and trade measures with different philosophies, time frame, scales and levels.
This online conference seeks to provide an outlook on the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and explore opportunities and prospects for recovery and resilience in coastal and island developing countries. The conference would be also a good opportunity to identify action that partners take to adjust the research, technical cooperation and capacity building trade-related response to the pandemic.
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