Blue Economy from IGAD perspectives

As stated above, the term “sustainable” is inspired by the principles of Sustainable Development or Global Sustainability as defined in the Brundtland Report 1987, i.e. the development that meets the needs of the present and future generations. It aims at restoring the balance between three interconnected dimensions namely, Economic Efficiency - Environment Integrity - Social Equity so that the Society and Economy may operate within the planetary boundaries. The concept is also referred to as a triple-win (People-Profit-Planet) or shared-value approach. These fundamentals are rolled-out in the time-bound socio-economic aspirations of the UN Global Agenda 2030 - No Hunger - No one is to be left behind. The sustainable development concept is operationalised by the Green Economy (SDG 15 – Life on land) for the land-based and the Blue Economy (SDG 14 – Life below water) for marine-based living resources and ecosystems. In other words, the Blue Economy consists of greening the ocean-based industries and their natural environments. Overall, the SDG 14 and 15 capture the entire Land-Ocean nexus of our Planet. On the African continent, the Blue Economy paradigm is also adapted for the sustainable management of the Great Lakes such as Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. The FAO has formulated the Blue Growth Initiatives to mainstream the Blue Economy alongside its Voluntary Guidelines Framework to promote sustainable management and development of the inland and marine small-scale fisheries. The essence is the democratisation of sustainable development to make it accessible the commons - Regional Strategies – Local Actions!

As one of the 8 Regional Economic Communities of the African Union, IGAD is committed to aligning its policy and institutional frameworks to meet up the regional cooperation and integration agenda of the African Union. The United States of Africa is not a  far-fetched dream with the operationalisation of the continent-wide Common Trade Agreement. However, it must adapt its political economy model that integrates an equitable distribution of income and wealth avoid pursuing the liberal capitalism doctrine and the free market fundamentalism. Strong institutions are good for democracy and prosperity. Inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice. There must not be a trade-off between high economic growth and equitable income distribution. Making the rich richer does not help the poor and is counterproductive. Low taxation is tantamount less spending on essential social services. In other words, irrespective of adopting Green or Blue Economy, Sustainable Development can be boiled down ethics, moral and honesty. Democracy will cede to populism if the local communities are left behind. The most unpredictable part of the economic equation is human behaviour. In shorthand, Sustainable development is about reconnecting the people to humanity and it requires to believe in a new story – “The Future We want”. So, there is an urgent need for social innovation and transformation to progress sustainable development on our planet.