A Blue Economy Vision for Scotland

Sets out our long-term ambition for Scotland’s blue economy to 2045. It demonstrates how much we value our marine environment and its significance. This is captured in six outcomes sitting across a range of environmental, social and economic ambitions.

7. The International context

The ‘blue economy’ concept, which came into focus during the 2012 United Nations Convention on Sustainable Development, has been increasingly recognised internationally as an approach to sustainably manage marine resources. The lack of a single global definition of a ‘blue economy’ has not hindered progress towards developing blue economy approaches around the world. The extent to which the underpinning principles – improving wellbeing and social equity, reducing environmental risk and ecological scarcities and economic transformation – are considered, varies between nations. The blue economy approach has been pioneered by Small Island Nations such as the Seychelles, which have significant coastal resources and populations. Other international UN Sustainable Development Goals examples of the blue economy approach include those set out by the United Nations, the European Union, Canada and the World Bank. We have reviewed these international approaches to inform the Scottish Government’s blue economy approach and we will continue to be informed by blue economy work that is taking place, globally, as it develops.

Scotland is committed to maintaining, and where possible enhancing, the high environmental standards that we enjoyed while the UK was a member of the EU. Our blue economy vision will be developed and implemented in line with the Scottish Government’s policy of aligning with EU law, standards and outcomes wherever appropriate, and with due regard to the EU environmental principles that we have enshrined in Scots Law.

International cooperation underpins the blue economy approach to support the overall advancement of sustainable ocean governance and build global capacity to develop ‘blue economy’ policy programmes. This includes working across international boundaries on marine planning, fisheries management, marine protected areas and to ensure effective monitoring, control and surveillance. International multi-disciplinary science partnerships will be needed to support evidence-informed decision making, development of adaptive management approaches and new decision making tools and measures such as natural capital and wellbeing metrics. Scotland has a strong track record and reputation for scientific excellence and developing innovative marine policy.

To achieve global blue economy ambitions, the management of ocean resources requires collaboration internationally and across the public and private sectors on a scale that has not been previously achieved. We will proactively seek opportunities to engage with our European and international partners to learn from others’ experiences, share Scottish expertise and work together o deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for our shared marine space and resources. Scotland will look to maximise opportunities for international knowledge exchange, and collaboration, to develop and deliver evidence-informed blue economy approaches. We will also continue to participate actively in international fora to deliver on our commitments, further our shared values, support global ocean governance and maintain Scotland’s international influence.

“The ‘Blue Economy’ is an emerging concept which encourages better stewardship of our ocean or ‘blue’ resources......it supports all the of United Nations Sustainability Goals.....and recognises that this will require ambitious, co-ordinated actions to sustainably manage, protect and preserve our ocean now, for the sake of present and future generations” Commonwealth Secretariat, May 2018.

“The heart of SG14 [Sustainable Development Goal 14] is the Sustainable Blue Economy...from sustainable aquaculture to the greening of shipping, from marine genetic resources to offshore energy production, developing the sustainable blue economy will mitigate climate change, create massive employment in blue green industries and provide us with medicines and nutrition we need for a secure future” (Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, 22nd January 2022)


Email: Pat.McAuley@gov.scot

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