From Ship to Coast: Blue Economy and Sustainable Livelihood

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2020 will be the year of the oceans, appropriately welcoming a decade that will increasingly see states attempting to create value from maritime resources.

Already, the oceans feed nearly half the world’s population and add USD 3 trillion to the economy every year. Shipping carries about 90 per cent of world trade and is the most energy efficient mode of transportation. Worldwide, ocean industries create up to 31 million full time jobs. However, a range of human behaviour continues to exacerbate damage to maritime environments and actors. Many coastal areas suffer from climate change and are under threat from pollution, as well as the over-harvesting of marine resources. Beyond the environmental imperatives, it is essential for the international community to commit to social inclusion and economic prosperity for all. Unregulated economic growth continues to create new inequalities and leads to elite capture, abuse of workers’ rights and the marginalisation of local communities. As the oceans are an important workspace, creating jobs and opportunities in a diverse array of sectors such as shipping, tourism, cruises, fisheries and renewable energy, more action is needed to ensure decent work, living wages and responsible production and consumption practices within the maritime industry. By addressing these issues, there is, nonetheless, great opportunity that the oceans, because of the distributional benefits, can help promote labour equality, improve livelihoods, and revitalize coastal economies. Indeed, the blue economy acquires importance for realising almost each of the 17 sustainable development goals. As the oceans increasingly command international attention, it is imperative for scholars to examine the blue economy in the light of the SDGs, to raise public awareness and to mobilise a cross sectoral community from government, business, civil society and international organisations to fast track research.

Responding to these realities, this 2-day closed workshop, which is organised by the DWIH New Delhi together with the German Maritime Museum, will bring together postdoctoral maritime scholars from India and Germany to engage them in an interdisciplinary discussion on what will undoubtedly be the decade of the oceans. The disciplines of the participants cover not only natural sciences but the social sciences and humanities as well. The program will conclude with a public-facing Science Circle Lecture by an eminent speaker.


Exploring labour rights in the blue economy

This track will debate labour standards and welfare schemes of industries dependent on the oceans, such as fisheries, shipping, cruises, and coastal tourism. It will explore how transnational arrangements, strong human rights regimes, together with governance frameworks can be promoted in enabling sustainable employment linked to the maritime industry.

Building a ‘community first’ approach to the blue economy

This track will explore how coastal communities can be given a concrete stake in the sustainable management of the oceans’ resources. As global exploitation and inequalities increase, it will look on how local jobs can be secured to improve coastal livelihoods. Furthermore, communities that are vulnerable to climate change are often the most innovative and effective in adapting to it. Hence, his track will focus on studying grass-roots efforts that respond to climate change, amplify local adaptation initiatives successfully and provide a platform for job creation.

Exhibiting the ocean

This session will focus on the new ways to communicate research on sustainable blue economy to multi-stakeholder groups and the broader public. The scholars will draw lessons from science communication and will explore existing and innovative exhibition formats from science and research museums. Emphasis will be laid on digitisation and new technologies in showcasing the oceans.

Event Information

September 30 to October 1, 2020

Organizer: DWIH New Delhi, German Maritime Museum

Please note that the dates of the event are tentative.

More updates will be shared closer to the date of the event.