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The Blue Economy and Small States

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Island nations have benefited from their ocean resources for centuries, with marine uses and activities contributing significantly to their development and overall economies. These include a wide range of maritime sectors essential to both current and future economic development, including: capture fisheries; maritime transport and ports; coastal tourism; mineral exploitation; as well as the marine ecosystems and resources that support them.

There a growing appreciation of the critical role the oceans play in sustainable economic growth and, as a corollary, the need to better manage and protect coastal and marine ecosystems and resources that are the fundamental basis for that growth.

Drawing on international experience in the respective sectors, each volume in the Commonwealth Blue Economy Series provides recommendations that will assist governments to realise opportunities where they exist. It is hoped that the material presented in this volume will stimulate thinking about how small island developing states can benefit from the development of the blue economy by integrating different sectors into the ‘blue growth’ agenda.

English

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The Blue Economy and Small States

Small states are primarily located in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, and face distinctive challenges, some of which are inherent in their small size and geographical location. The economic costs to being small manifest themselves in a number of ways, including small domestic markets and limited export volume. Small size also restricts the number of activities these states can engage in, blunting economic diversification and returns to scale in both the public and private sectors (Easterly and Kraay 2000; Briguglio 2014). They also have a high unit cost for the provision of public services, including policy formulation, data collection and regulatory activities, all of which are key for developing an ocean economy. In addition, their small populations limit the potential pool of qualified civil servants, which are typically stretched handling large portfolios.

English

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