VIEWPOINT: From Buzz Words to Real Action
Whilst there is much being discussed and written about green growth, green economy, and now blue economy, people are challenged to provide definitions. The UNEP prefers instead to provide a "working definition" for the green economy which is: "one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive".
Rather than spending effort and time that we don’t have on debating possible definitions, we should motivate each other to provide illustrations of what blue economy means on the water. Over the years, I have been involved in introducing new concepts to conservation strategies and have tried to explain these to natural resource managers. The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) is one of those concepts that was well received in Indonesia.
Conservationists, fisheries managers, and academia liked the concept well enough and referenced it in policy briefs and new regulations. But hardly anyone had a clue on how to implement it, when starting work the next Monday at the office or in the field. It is only this month, about 10 years after the concept was first discussed, that regulations on by-catch of endangered and non-target species were formalised, and that some tuna fleets are starting to implement mitigation measures. And it is only for two fisheries management areas in Indonesia, that the data collection and monitoring systems in support of EAFM are now being trialed. The next buzz-word, Right-Based Management (RBM) for Fisheries may go the same route if NGOs and the private sector are not swift enough in collaborating with community fishers to demonstrate the added value of RBM for certain fisheries.
Discussions on a blue economy were part of Rio+20, which was aimed to develop a clear roadmap to the "future we want". Yet, the majority of the people who are debating the future we want appear to be older professionals often working in government or development and environmental NGOs. One of the most appealing things about the blue economy is that it motivates entrepreneurs to come up with examples of how to transform their business and contribute to a blue economy. What we need to add to this is the youth of today. As it will be their future that must be changed by us today. Urgently.