Closing the gap: financing the transition towards an inclusive blue economy

Date: Wednesday, 10 June 2020
Where: Online
A fisher casting a net from a small boat surrounded by a large expanse of water

A Malaysian fisher casts a net (Photo: Jamie Oliver, Worldfish via FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Marine and coastal resources that support the livelihoods of millions of women and men face growing pressures, including overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution and climate change. Financial instruments can offer a solution to deliver positive socioeconomic and environmental outcomes for resource management. IIED hosted an online discussion on how to mobilise public and private finance to enable the transition to a sustainable and inclusive blue economy.

The marine environment and its resources sustain the livelihoods of millions of people around the world. But fish stocks and ocean habitats are under threat.  

There is an urgent need to reverse this trend and transition to a more sustainable blue economy. A key challenge is mobilising adequate and sustainable financial resources to enable the transition. For example, it is estimated that restoring depleted global fisheries will cost in excess of US$ 200 billion.

One of the most important but little discussed instruments available to policymakers are ‘fiscal policy tools’ – where governments use instruments such as taxes, fees, subsidies and fiscal allocations to finance sustainable development. 

The use of these instruments for domestic resource mobilisation is central to the pursuit of sustainable development, including achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, fiscal tools are unlikely to provide enough resources to enable the transition to a sustainable and inclusive blue economy, particularly in the face of economic shocks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Juliette Tunstall (, internal engagement and external events officer