The IBEC sets the stage for a high level multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder and multi-scalar platform for exchanging knowledge, lessons learned and best practices to assess the prospects and challenges for harnessing the Blue Economy for the IGAD, both a national and regional levels. The outcomes of this conference will contribute to the formulation of the IGAD Blue Economy Policy Framework and a Strategic Action Plan. In a nutshell, the Blue Economy is a paradigm for greening ocean-based industries, and it is difficult to predict where it will lead next. Will the Blue Economy offer more than doing simply less harm? Can it be something transformational and sustainable? The challenging question for the policymakers and key stakeholders of the IGAD region are:
- Why is the IGAD region so poor and insecure despite its strategic location, the relative abundance of natural resources and young labour forces?
- How can the Blue Economy and Blue Growth Initiatives instil a more sustainable development model in the coastal and ocean-based industries in the IGAD region?
- What is the state and potential of the Blue Economy of the IGAD member states and how can it be harnessed? What are the capacity needs and gaps to entrench Blue Economy into the national regional political economy?
- Will the Blue Economy challenge liberal capitalism and the free market fundamentalism which is exacerbating wealth and income inequalities within and between developed as well as the developing countries?
- What are the checks and balances or safeguards that the Blue Economy provides to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of the marine environments and an equitable sharing of the ocean wealth?
- What are the innovative financial mechanisms and partnership opportunities available to support the development of Blue Economy at national and regional levels?
- How can the learning investments and appropriate best practices for the advanced economies help the developing countries to take-off their Blue Development?