Blue Economy for Green Islands


The Blue Economy - the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic diversification, improved livelihoods and jobs, environmental sustainability and resilience - is seen as the pathway to unlock new, sustainable economic opportunities, kickstart green recovery, cultivate diversification and build resilience to future shocks. It is an opportunity to achieve the triple bottom line of sustainable development with economic, social and environmental impacts. For Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) or perhaps better described as Large or Big Ocean States (BOS), the Blue Economy is a concept that involves every aspect of national governance, socioeconomic development, and environmental sustainability.

Green Islands are rooted in the green economy and green growth which is defined as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

In recent years, national and regional efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change have intensified, including the strategic identification of blue economy principles and integrated natural resource management as key to sustainable development. As such, the UNDP “Blue Economy for Green Islands” approach incorporates the deep interlinkages between blue and green economies while encompassing an entire island system and its maritime waters as one interlinked economic, social and environmental system. With regards to SIDS or BOS, recognizing this ecosystem aspect and looking at many islands as an entire coastal zone is key – due to size, proximity and various vulnerabilities, green intersects with blue, and therefore both ocean and land-based activities must be recognized as one interconnected system.  

Under the Blue Economy for Green islands Approach UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean is leveraging connections and alliances with regional governments, Development partners, IFIs and academia to accelerate sustainable development, promote economic diversification, job creation and resilience.

The work in the Blue Economy (BE) space is predicated on a human-rights-based approach and focuses on supporting plans, policies, programmes, interventions and actions that promote sustainable development through the sustainable use and management of ocean resources across the interlinked sectors of tourism, biodiversity conservation, fisheries, marine transport, renewable energy and waste management. This approach has led to several achievements – mobilisation of USD 1M from the Joint SDG Fund for the development of BE financing frameworks and expansion of the BE pipeline and the mobilisation of additional resources to formulate a framework for technical assistance and sustainable funding for BE investments at scale. Under the Blue Economists Network – established with the University of the West Indies – UNDP also led a public expenditure review in Dominica to support the government’s transition to enhanced public financial management and to be able to directly support and crowd-in BE investment.