JPI Oceans - OECD | The future of the Ocean Economy seminar | JPI OCEANS

JPI Oceans - OECD | The future of the Ocean Economy seminar


JPI Oceans - OECD | The future of the Ocean Economy seminar

The seminar held in Brussels brought-together the JPI Oceans Management Board, Advisory Board and key stakeholders and representatives from the OECD to discuss the recommendations of its Future of the Ocean Economy report

The report which explores the growth prospects for the ocean economy was made with the support of several JPI Oceans member countries, (Flanders – Belgium, France, Norway, Portugal, Scotland – UK) who contributed financially or inkind. The event was an opportunity for the members of JPI Oceans to consider the report’s findings, reflect together with stakeholders upon its recommendations, and discuss what efforts could be made in JPI Oceans to further boost, through research and innovation, the sustainable development of the ocean economy. 
The seminar kicked off with the presentation by Barrie Stevens (OECD) of the main findings of the report:  by 2030, many ocean-based industries have the potential to outperform the growth of the global economy as a whole, both in terms of value added and employment. The projections of the OECD suggest that the ocean economy will double its global value added, reaching over USD 3 trillion and providing approximately 40 million full-time equivalent jobs. This economic expansion is driven primarily by developments in global population, economic growth, trade and rising income levels, climate and environment, and technology. However, it is increasingly being constrained by a deteriorating health of the ocean. 
The report makes a number of recommendations in order to boost the long-term development prospects of the ocean economy, while managing the ocean in responsible, sustainable ways. In particular, it highlights two key issues, (i) fostering greater international cooperation in maritime science and technology to stimulate innovation and (ii) strengthening integrated ocean management, making it more effective, efficient and inclusive. 
In the first panel session “Lessons learnt for cross-sectoral cooperation - Perspectives from ocean based industries” Karl Almås (SINTEF) highlighted the role of technology as a driver in ocean innovation. In particular, he argued the need to harness the strong cross-over potential in ocean industries as well as to focus on both enabling technologies and disruptive changes in order to drive economic development.  Under the moderation of Strategic Advisory Board member Yvonne Shields (Commissioners of Irish Lights), panellists argued that to achieve such cross-sectoral fertilisation, a focus should be on skills and training as people are the best means of transferring knowledge and technology. Clusters could in particular play a role in facilitating this knowledge exchange, as does the design of research programmes to this end. 
The second session on integrated ocean management was kicked-off by Sebastian Unger (IASS Potsdam). In his keynote presentation he highlighted the great political moment for moving towards integrated ocean governance, which could be even further advanced through (a) innovating instruments, (b) complementary strategies at national, regional and global scale, and (c) capacity-building and sustainable finance. In particular, he argued that the regional level could act as a broker for integration, as there are well-established institutions at regional level, where agreement can be reached more easily than at global level and which allows for a meaningful implementation of the ecosystem approach. In the discussion moderation by Management Board member Gert Verreet, discussants pointed out that in Europe, many of the institutions (e.g. at sea-basin level), instruments (e.g. Marine Spatial Planning) and commitment to integrated ocean management were already in place; however, a better implementation was necessary.
Discussing how research and innovation can support such further integration, panellists argued that scientists, industry, and policymakers should be involved in all steps of the governance process from identifying research questions to writing of legislation as this was essential for promoting the sustainable coexistence of ocean-based activities. Moreover, it was suggested that JPI Oceans could provide a forum for such cross-sectoral dialogue for instance on issues such as increased knowledge and data accessibility.
In the last session, JPI Oceans Members discussed the recommendations of the OECD report and the main messages of the two panel sessions and what public research could do in support. Many potential fields of action, for instance around data and knowledge sharing, support to coastal tourism, and a focus on supporting governance process were raised. However, participants pointed to the need and difficulty of prioritising research areas on an evidence-basis, rather than opinion-based, research priorities. JPI Oceans should thus act as a hub of bringing the different Member States and stakeholders to the table to discuss and set priorities for research funding in an iterative manner, as had been done in the process of developing the JPI Oceans Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda.
To close the seminar, Claire Jolly (OECD) outlined that in the next phase of the project 2017-18, the OECD would launch a programme that would focus on fostering innovation in the maritime economy. In particular the analysis will focus on new enabling technologies, new patterns of collaboration, new uses of economic valuation and tools and new policy mix in boosting innovation for greening marine and maritime activities.


Leveraging cross-sectoral synergies for innovation in the ocean economy, Karl Almås, OECD Steering Committee member, SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, Norway
Moving towards Integrated Ocean Management across Sectors and Scales,  Sebastian Unger, Scientific Coordinator,  IASS Potsdam


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