By Student Delegate Caroline Fullam
Since 2015, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have pushed for simultaneously equitable, economic and environmental improvements globally. These conjunctive ambitions can be realized through the “blue economy,” which refers to the sustainable use of the ocean and its resources to bring economic growth and protect marine ecosystems.
A common characteristic of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is their expansive Exclusive Economic Zones and marine territories relative to their land mass. When considering SDGs pertinent to Small Island Developing States, Goal 8- decent work and economic development- should not be left out. The blue economy is an enormous opportunity to realize Goal 8 alongside other SDGs such as Goal 14- conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and marine resources- within Small Island Developing States. Otherwise, marine resources can be mismanaged, unsustainably used, or underutilized.
One way to boost the blue economy is supporting blue entrepreneurship. In Seychelles, a Small Island Developing State, the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) is heading projects to bolster blue entrepreneurship through enhanced assessment and training, networking and mentorship opportunities, and grants and loans. These projects help to not only enhance entrepreneurship opportunities by removing common obstacles, but also grow these new businesses in alignment with the principles of the blue economy to steward marine resources and address climate change.
The strong, symbiotic bond between the ocean and climate requires blue economics to consider current and future climate change impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems. The implications of climate change effects on the ocean could pose a threat to the future of all economic sectors related to the marine environment- including fisheries, aquaculture, trade, oil and gas, tourism, maritime transport, renewable energy (wind, wave, and tidal), marine biotechnology, and more. Blue entrepreneurship forms businesses in consideration of changing environmental circumstances and natural resources across these sectors, which is why business building in the blue economy is seen as a strategy with long-term benefits. Traditional economic practices of environmental and ecosystem degradation can overexploit finite resources without time for regeneration as well as exacerbate the negative ways a climate-impacted ocean will affect society.
Small Island Developing States, aptly called Large Ocean States, are heavily reliant on the ocean’s resources. Blue entrepreneurship provides SIDS communities the opportunity to sustainably manage and economically benefit from their most abundant resource; those economic benefits are more equitably shared by the inclusion of SIDS entrepreneurs. This mindful interaction allows for the longevity of economic and environmental benefits by recognizing the capacity of the ocean as well as the economic needs and innovative ideas of SIDS communities.
Blue entrepreneurship programs, such as the one conducted by SeyCCAT, aid in preparing ambitious individuals to actualize their economic endeavors in an environmentally responsible manner. SeyCCAT’s program to help blue entrepreneurs with financing, networking, government support, and more, allow for entrepreneurship in the Seychelles to be not only sustainable but successful in a changing climate.
SeyCCAT, SeyCCAT Blue Economy Entrepreneurs, (October 2019), https://seyccat.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/SeyCCAT-Blue-Economy-Entrepreneurs_Findings-and-Analysis-November-Final-Report.pdf.
 World Bank Group, The Potential of the Blue Economy, viii, (2017) https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/26843/115545.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
 Id. at 13-14.
 See generally Id.