Canada and partners lead global movement towards a sustainable blue economy

News release

November 28, 2018

Nairobi, Kenya -  A blue economy aims to harness the potential of our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. It offers great promise for all, especially with respect to food security, jobs and economic prosperity. However, to ensure the long-term benefits of the blue economy, we need healthy and sustainable water resources.

This week, Canada along with co-hosts Kenya and Japan, and participants from over 150 countries from around the world, successfully concluded the first ever global conference on the sustainable blue economy in Nairobi, Kenya.

With a strong Canadian delegation of business representatives, scientists, entrepreneurs, national organizations, and representatives from Indigenous groups, led by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada brought its values of inclusion, sustainability and economic security to the discussions.

Minister Wilkinson used Canada’s role as co-host and its recognized reputation for ocean leadership to encourage bold global action. Canada led by example and committed to taking action to strengthen science and research to advance the sustainable blue economy; promote collaboration for sustainable partnerships and projects; and promoting actions that put people and resources at the centre of sustainable development.

To this end, the Minister announced immediate Canadian action in support of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which included:

  • Up to $9.5 million to advance activities of the Decade of Ocean Science;
  • Up to $1 million to the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action and for the Government of Canada’s support to the United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean.

The Minister also reiterated Canada’s commitment to working with the global community to support resilient coasts and coastal communities by highlighting the following Canadian investments:

  • $10 million to the Pacific Initiative for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Resilience. Funding for this joint initiative with the European Union, France, New Zealand and Australia will support efforts in the Pacific region to adapt to climate change, protect biodiversity, and improve ocean and fisheries health.
  • $20 million for capacity development and technical assistance in Small Island Developing States. This includes areas of public financial management, financial sector supervisory capacity, and fostering inclusive growth.

The conference served as an important building block, galvanizing global efforts towards a transition to a truly sustainable blue economy.

Additional multimedia

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


“Canada stands ready to work in partnership with the global community to take action in tackling the challenges ahead. The commitments made at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference will serve as a catalyst to invigorate global efforts to make significant, sustained progress in seizing the opportunities offered by our water resources. By working together, we can and will take decisive action to create a truly sustainable blue economy.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • It is estimated that half of the world’s population lives within 60 kilometres of the sea and three quarters of all large cities are located along the coast. (Source: United Nations Environment Programme)

  • Blue economy industries account for the livelihoods of 660 to 820 million people worldwide, with women accounting for about 15 percent of those engaged in fisheries. (Source: The Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • In Canada, the oceans alone are a source of approximately 350,000 jobs and generate approximately $36 billion annually in GDP through fisheries and aquaculture, energy, shipping, tourism and recreation.

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For more information:

Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary  
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceansand the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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