Institutionalizing the Blue Economy: an examination of variations and consistencies among Commonwealth countries

Publication Name

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences


The Blue Economy is a catch all term that is used to describe a wide variety of development approaches and priorities in the ocean and coastal areas. A number of distinct, and sometimes conflicting discourses have emerged in relation to the Blue Economy, which are distinguished by the degree to which they prioritize different development objectives. This paper explores the range of Blue Economy interpretations, governance strategies and implementation approaches that exist across Commonwealth countries. Key Blue Economy policy statements and governance instruments are analysed in order to ascertain the way the Blue Economy is being institutionalized at a national level, with reference to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Commonwealth Blue Charter. High-level Blue Economy objectives appear to prioritize economic and environmental objectives, with limited engagement with equity objectives including food security and gender equality. Blue Economy objectives are primarily being institutionalized through a diverse array of strategies, plans and policies with limited information on mechanisms for implementation. Finally, there are signs that the Blue Economy may be facilitating a greater degree of integration across sectoral management, with the emergence of range of boundary-crossing arrangements in a number of the countries examined. This article is part of the theme issue 'Nurturing resilient marine ecosystems'.

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