More than three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods, most of them in developing countries.

Of the three billion people relying on the ocean for their livelihoods, the vast majority live in developing countries. Ocean-based industries, such as fisheries and tourism, are critical providers of employment and income. Too often, however, climate change, pollution and insufficient consideration for environmental and social sustainability are putting the ocean’s resources at risk, hampering the socio-economic benefits they could deliver for future generations.
Expanding ocean-based sectors in a sustainable manner and investing in new ones, such as offshore renewable energies and marine biotechnologies can boost job creation, energy supply, food security and infrastructure. How can the international community help bridge the gaps in knowledge, innovation, capacity and finance that prevent developing countries from growing such sustainable ocean economies? We work with them and their development partners to find the answers.

Sustainable Ocean for All

The ocean economy is a new economic frontier that can help developing countries boost employment, reduce poverty and enhance food security. At the same time, climate change, pollution, overfishing, and other unprecedented pressures from human activity are pushing the health of oceans to a tipping point. If not addressed, this will put at risk the long-term economic benefits that the ocean can deliver as well as the resources on which all life on the planet ultimately depends.

Integrating environmental and social sustainability into the ocean economy is thus critical to ensure healthy ocean and the world’s future prosperity. Developing countries need to have access to the knowledge, innovations, capacity and financial resources needed for harnessing the benefits of sustainable ocean economies. Sustainable Ocean for All contributes to achieve this objective.

By 2020, Sustainable Ocean for All -project will deliver:

  • A new comprehensive report on the global trends of the sustainable ocean economy, highlighting opportunities and challenges for different groups of developing countries;
  • The first set of OECD multi-disciplinary country diagnostics on the ocean economy for selected developing countries;
  • A new set of quantitative and qualitative indicators and policy recommendations to guide decision-makers in developing countries and donor countries alike in support of the development of sustainable ocean economies;
  • Contributions to international workshops and policy dialogues to promote mutual learning within ocean-related communities and across stakeholder groups - ministries, agencies, academia, foundations, NGOs and the private sector.

Development finance for Small Island Developing States

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) stand at a critical juncture on their paths to sustainable development. We provide statistical data and policy analysis to help them access concessional finance and other resources tailored to their circumstances and need.

Key facts

  • SIDS have small land masses but vast ocean resources. Promoting the sustainable development of existing ocean-based sectors, along with investing in new sectors, represents one of the major opportunities to diversify their economies, increase resilience, and boost sustainable, inclusive growth.
  • With small economies, highly exposed to economic and natural shocks, SIDS are on average the most vulnerable among developing countries.
  • SIDS are acutely vulnerable to the increasing impacts of natural disasters and climate change. They make up two thirds of the countries that suffer the highest relative losses – between 1% and 9% of their GDP each year – from natural disasters.
  • Five countries captured 54% of the total volume of concessional finance to SIDS in 2012-2015: Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Dominican Republic, Timor-Leste, Cabo Verde.
  • Concessional finance mainly targets governance, health and infrastructure.
  • SIDS tend to depend on a single source of concessional finance: on average, the top provider represents 46% of the total.