Towards Ocean Equity

The blue economy is being promoted as capable of achieving sustainability and prosperity, fair use of the ocean and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ensuring a more equitable distribution of goods and services provided by the ocean represents a major challenge. There is overwhelming evidence that current access to ocean benefits and resources, as well as exposure to harms, is distributed inequitably. This results in negative effects on the environment and human health, loss of livelihoods, limited financial opportunities for vulnerable groups and challenges to nutritional and food security. Powerful interests (including states, communities and economic entities) benefit from existing arrangements. Challenging inequality represents a direct threat to such interests. Inequality is increasingly influencing economic development and political stability. Current and recent examples of social unrest are closely associated with concerns about inequality, climate change, corruption and related societal problems perceived as having an unfair impact. Increased scientific attention to inequality is starting to shape debates associated with the ocean. We argue that there is a general policy blindness to instruments and practices that maintain the unfair status quo, but that there are remedies to such blindness. The purpose of this Blue Paper is to explore ocean inequities and suggest approaches for the just inclusion of diverse actors in the blue economy agenda and the equitable distribution of ocean benefits. First, we define inequity terms and their drivers, as well as how they affect sustainability. Second, we explore policies and practices that have (or have not) worked in favour of equity, while also promoting ecological sustainability. Finally, we provide opportunities for action for policymakers, funding and research institutions, international and non-governmental organisations, business leadership as well as civil society to address systemic aspects of inequities along a spectrum of ambitions, from basic to transformative. These opportunities for action are not intended as alternatives. They constitute complementary and reinforcing action to support and inform pathways to a sustainable and just ocean economy.

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Lubchenco Jane, Haugan Peter M. (2023). Towards Ocean Equity. In The Blue Compendium. From Knowledge to Action for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. 2023. Jane Lubchenco, Peter M. Haugan (Eds.). DOI 10.1007/978-3-031-16277-0, eBook ISBN978-3-031-16277-0. Chap.13, pp.485-521. Springer International Publishing.,

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