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Wednesday, June 26 • 15:00 - 16:30
Blue growth and ocean privatizations

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Chaired by: Schlüter, A.

 From ‘tech’ to human - focused: The Role of Innovation in a Blue Economy
 Lana Kajlich, Michelle Voyer, Hugh Forehead, Faisal I Hai, Pascal Perez & Astrid Vachette
 
The world’s oceans are entering a new phase of large-scale industrialisation. Countries around the world are embracing the idea of pursuing new and innovative development opportunities in their marine jurisdictions. At the centre of this new ‘Blue’ Economy lies a focus on technical and technological innovations. These innovations are designed to tackle future complex challenges, while improving knowledge of the oceans and its uses and users, creating efficiencies along value chains, and enabling connections between people engaged in ocean use and management. Despite the emphasis on technical and technological ‘fixes’, innovation relies on human ingenuity, expertise and perseverance. Through a series of semi-structured interviews and drawing on the theoretical framework and methods of social network analysis, we explore the way ‘Blue’ innovation is currently being enacted, challenged and operationalised in the communities of a region in south east Australia. We find that, despite numerous attempts to foster and grow innovation, the most common and important stories of innovation involve an entirely human and organic process driven by a recognised need and an established problem. Given that collaboration is central to developing complex solutions, we uncover patterns within networks that facilitate learning, provide support and spur acceptance and uptake of innovation. We also show the extent these innovators rely on collaboration across sectors and tiers of governance and are aided or constrained by current policy. The implications for the emerging discourses around the Blue Economy are considered, in particular the limitations of technical and technological innovation as a panacea. We suggest that broader, human-centred notions of innovation may better reflect community aspirations and enable an inclusive and socially equitable Blue Economy.


Broadening the perspective on ocean privatisations
Achim Schlütera, Maarten Bavinck, Maria Hadijmichael, Stefan Partelowa, Alicia Said & Irmak Ertör
 
Privatisation of the ocean, in the sense of defining more exclusive property rights, is happening in increasingly diverse ways. With blue growth being the dominating ocean development discourse, it is likely that more privatisation will happen and new forms of exclusive property arrangements will arise. Different aspects, or items, of oceans can be privatised. The paper differentiates four of them: resources, space, governance control and knowledge. Most commonly discussed is the privatisation of singular resources such as fish, the central food resource of the ocean, also posing very obvious sustainability challenges. However, ocean space is also increasingly privatised. As indicated in the literature and political discourse on coastal and ocean ‘grabbing’, the privatisation of ocean space is attracting more scientific and societal interest. Certification is yet another form of ocean privatisation, when governance not emerging from state activity is done by private actors. With blue growth, interest in the ocean’s knowledge economy is rising, e.g., in the pharmaceutical industry. This leads to privatisation of knowledge about the ocean, such as patents. This paper elucidates what is different about privatising these four items in the ocean in comparison to on land. The distinct features of the ocean as a social-ecological system are manifold and are elucidated from various disciplinary, theoretical, and sustainability perspectives. The identification of the four types of ocean privatisation, and the unique characteristics in how they manifest in the ocean compared to on land, will help to understand the challenges and opportunities from those multiple privatisation processes under way.
 
 
Networking the Blue Economy in Seychelles: Pioneers, Resistance, and the Power of Influence
Marleen Schutter & Christina Hicks
 
The Blue Economy has widely gained traction as a key concept that seeks to stem biodiversity loss whilst stimulating economic development, integrating environmental and economic interests. However, although the Blue Economy builds on the Green Economy, academic critique can be slow to translate into changes in policy and practice, as a result familar critiques emerge in relation to the Blue Economy. Moreover, what the Blue Economy means to national and local policy makers and practioners is seldom explored, and specificity on how the triple bottom line of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity can be attained is lacking. This paper explores these issues in one of the pioneering nations promoting the Blue Economy – the Republic of Seychelles – to establish a) how policy makers and practitioners in Seychelles interpret the Blue Economy b) what perspectives are influencing the Blue Economy; c) who stands to gain or lose out. Seychelles has a unique position in Africa, due to its remote location in the Indian Ocean, its political history, and its pioneering role in promoting the Blue Economy: it presents itself as a leader for Africa in this respect. Using a combination of interviews and Q-methodology, we identify three perspectives on the Blue economy in Seychelles. Policy makers and practitioners are either: Supportive in principle, critical in practice; Pragmatic and accepting; or Idealistic. We find that many of the perspectives on the Blue Economy present in international discourse are not present in Seychelles, and indeed elements are met with resistance. The three Seychelles' perspectives on the Blue Economy capture the interpretations of the policy makers and practitioners tasked with enacting change in Seychelles. Drawing on a social network analysis approach we find a select number of actors – both in- and outside Seychelles – are driving the perspectives, with different levels of influence.


Growth in the Docks: Ports, metabolic flows and socioenvironmental impacts
Borja Nogué Algueró

Virtually all internationally traded goods are shipped via maritime transportation. Major commercial ports are vital components of current economies, enabling and defining international production, distribution and consumption systems. Although port development is usually associated to positive economic effects such as increased growth and employment, the continuous expansion and intensification of port activities produce adverse outcomes such as air and water pollution, the destruction of marine and coastal environments, and health risks, among others. Most literature on ports treat such negative impacts as external costs rectifiable through regulation, innovation, technological upgrading, and increased efficiency. Taking the Port of Barcelona as a case study, this paper argues that the socioenvironmental impacts of ports are an inherent part of the shipping industry’s growth-driven economic model and it examines the unsustainable aspects of increased port activity and development. Finally, it introduces Degrowth as a radical socioecological alternative to ocean-based growth paradigms and discusses its prospective ‘blue’ articulation in the context of ports and maritime transportation.
 
 


Wednesday June 26, 2019 15:00 - 16:30
REC A2.08 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam