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[Event Report] Regional Conference and Policy Dialogue on Blue Economy and Finance co-hosted by the ADBI and ICDF (Nadi, Fiji)


The year 2020 marks a turning point for the oceans. The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide to create a common framework to ensure sustainable ocean development. The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) co-hosted the Regional Conference and Policy Dialogue on Blue Economy, Ocean Tourism, and Sustainable Blue Financing with the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) in Nadi, Fiji during 25-27 February, 2020. The conference consisted of research presentations and policy dialogues, bringing together more than 50 participants from the academia, governments, and NGOs from 15 countries from the Asia and Pacific.

Dr. Maekawa Mr. Lee
Dr. Chuang Dr. Morgan
Opening remarks and presentation: Dr. Maekawa, Senior Research Fellow (OPRI-SPF), Ms. Lee, Representative (TTO), Dr. Chuang, Deputy Minister (OAC), Dr. Morgan, Co-chair of Research (ADBI)

In the opening ceremony, the Dean of ADBI, Dr. Naoyuki Yoshino, delivered a video message to welcome the participants and indicated the importance of spillover effects on tourism investment. Dr. Peter J. Morgan, Research Co-chair of ADBI, expressed high expectations for fruitful discussions among representatives from the academia, NGOs, and governments. While highlighting several vital ocean conferences planned in 2020, which are expected to build solid international frameworks for the next decade, Dr. Miko Maekawa, Senior Research Fellow of OPRI-SPF expressed gratitude for the excellent partnership with co-host institutes, which prompted policy dialogue between the academia and policymakers, with the expectations that these outcomes would be disseminated through prominent ocean policy journals and other means. Ms. Jessica C. Lee, Representative of the Taipei Trade Office, introduced the ongoing development projects of ICDF in the Pacific island states. Dr. Ted C. Chuang, Deputy Minister of Ocean Affairs Council, also participated in the entire conference and proposed regional public-private-partnerships (PPP) in ocean plastic debris management.

Dr. Tirumala Ms. Yoshioka Mr. Stuart
Dr.Artha Mr. Tanaka Dr.Voyer
Presentations by experts: Dr. Tirumala (Univ. of Melbourne); Ms. Yoshioka (OPRI-SPF); Mr. Stuart (Stimson Center); Dr. Artha (UNDP); Mr. Tanaka (OPRI-SPF); Dr. Voyer (ANCORS)

The themes the first day were: “Blue Economy and Climate Change Adaption,” “Blue Financing Mechanism,” “Ocean Disaster Risk Management & Mechanism,” and “Regional Focus ? Blue Economy cases and SDGs”. Other invited speakers included Country Economist, Dr. Rima Prama Artha of UNDP; Dr. Michelle Voyer, Senior Research Fellow of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security (ANCORS); Mr. Jack Stuart from the Stimson Center, who also took this opportunity to explain the significance and methodology of the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI) (Cf:, and also asked for experts views from the participants in the conference for the survey. Ms. Nagisa Yoshioka and Mr. Hajime Tanaka of OPRI-SPF presented their research outcome on “Proposing Regulatory Driven Blue Finance Mechanism for Blue Economy Development” and “Ocean Disaster Risk Reduction and Development of Blue Economy on Southern Hokkaido: An Approach of GIS and Dynamic General Equilibrium,” respectively. Professor Raghu Dharmapuri Tirumala from the University of Melbourne gave his insights on the “Blue Credit Mechanism Proposed Accelerator for Blue Economy Projects.”

Mr. Kolitagane dialog_1
Ms. Uusimaa dialog_2
Keynote speeches by Mr. David Kolitagane, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, Fiji; Ms. Hanna Uusimaa, Climate Change Specialist (ADB). Vibrant discussions took place during the Policy Dialogue.

In the Policy Dialogue, Mr. David Kolitagane, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development of the Fiji Government, gave the keynote address, emphasizing the need for evidence-based research for the crucial situation in the Pacific, and she called for collaboration from stakeholders in all aspects. Ms. Hanna Uusimaa, Climate Change Specialist from the ADB Pacific Department, explained about the ADB Ocean Financing Initiatives, and recommended that member states should develop “bankable” projects with the private sector, so that ADB could help facilitate the processes for ocean financing. Dr. Michael C. Huang, Research Fellow from OPRI-SPF, proposed a blue finance mechanism that should operate together among development banks, the private sector, and NGOs to help implement ocean environment preservation conservation effectively. With increasing concerns regarding climate change, coastal management and economic activity in island countries, active discussions and concrete policy recommendations from the participants were the major results from the conference, and these outcomes will be compiled in a conference report or a journal paper later on. The Ocean Policy Research Institute will continue to pursue tangible ways of implementing blue financing through knowledge creation, sharing and partnership.

Participants of the Regional Conference and Policy Dialogue.

(By Nagisa Yoshioka, OPRI-SPF)