Virtual Conference on Blue Economy and Blue Finance: Toward Sustainable Development and Ocean Governance

On 10-11 November, the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI-SPF) co-organized a virtual conference on Blue Economy and Blue Finance with the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), and the Ocean Affairs Council. The panel consisted of presentations prepared by experts from Japan, Australia, the US, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, with a focus on timely ocean issues. Around 100 participants from ADB officials and representatives, ASEAN and other island countries in Asia and the Pacific attended the event on-line.

In the opening remarks, Dr. Tetsushi Sonobe, the Dean of ADBI, indicated that this conference marks one of the most significant events in more than 50 virtual conferences and workshops that ADBI has held this year. He also emphasized that the meeting's endeavor serves to complement ADB’s Action Plan for Healthy Oceans 2019-2024 and Ocean Financing Initiatives to support countries for the blue economy. Dr. Stuart Kaye, Director of ANCORS, expressed gratitude to the other co-hosts for organizing this remarkable conference to discuss important ocean issues, despite the travel restrictions of COVID-19. Meanwhile, he pointed out that the blue economy has become increasingly common in public discourse and the popular imagination, along with better understanding of the nature of the human relationship with the ocean.

Dr. Tomonari Akamatsu, Director of Research Department of OPRI-SPF, took the opportunity to raise awareness on these emerging topics to find inclusive solutions for ocean problems from the perspective of climate change, as well as on effective policy measures to promote blue economy for sustainable development. Dr. Ching-Piao Tsai, Deputy Minister of Ocean Affairs Council, encored the ocean agenda set by UNDP and advocated collaboration for creating financing instruments, exemplifying the experience of platform establishment among private sectors and NGOs for ocean plastic debris management. Under the global pandemic of COVID-19, the virtual conference demonstrated the vital expectations for establishing a constructive and holistic dialogue on ocean policy.

opening remarks
Opening Remarks: Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean, ADBI (upper left) / Ching-Piao Tsai, Deputy Minister, Ocean Affairs Council (upper right) / Stuart Kaye, Director, ANCORS (lower left) / Tomonari Akamatsu, Director of Research Department, OPRI-SPF (lower right).

Reference: Conference agenda and recording (external link)

The contributions by OPRI-SPF and other partner organizations for this conference highlighted essential issues with first-hand data collection on aid statistics, field studies in Pacific islands, and joint research on policy modeling. The presentation titles and authors are as follows:
“Tracking International Aid for Ocean Conservation and Climate Action”
Nagisa Yoshioka, Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF
Miko Maekawa, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF
John Virdin and Tibor Vegh, Duke University
“Capitalizing Upon Co-Benefits and Synergies for Promoting Blue Economy in Asia and the Pacific”
Masanori Kobayashi, Atsushi Watanabe, Senior Research Fellows, OPRI-SPF
Keita Furukawa, President, Association for Shore Environment Creation, et al.
“Application of the BinD model for Fiji’s Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Policy Simulation”
Hajime Tanaka, Nagisa Yoshoka, Research Fellows, OPRI-SPF
Nepomuk Dunz, Junko Mochizuki, and Asjad Naqvi, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Presentations by OPRI-SPF: Nagisa Yoshioka, Research Fellow (left) / Masanori Kobayashi, Senior Research Fellow (right) /
Hajime Tanaka, Research Fellow (lower).

The two-day virtual conference concluded with fruitful discussions, insightful feedback from experts, and most important of all, a vibrant interchange on the frontier of academia and practitioners. In her closing remarks, Dr. Miko Maekawa, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF, praised the success of the conference's rich outcome and encouraged presenters to continue to publish papers and strengthen the linkage between analyses and ocean policy implications. The committee members of co-organizers announced the publication plans of this very first ADBI book series for the ocean and the hope to have a follow-up event after the ease of the global pandemic.

Conference Committee Members: Atsushi Watanabe, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF (upper left) / Miko Maekawa, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF (upper middle) / Michelle Voyer, Senior Research Fellow, ANCORS (upper right) / Pitchaya Sirivunnabood, CB&T Economist, ADBI (lower left) / Peter Morgan, Co-chair of Research, ADBI (lower middle) / Michael C. Huang, Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF (lower right)