All Blue Week Calls Attention to the Vitality of Ocean Health
Working across 189 countries, The World Bank Group exists to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way. The organization accomplishes this massive goal by providing financial products and technical assistance to every major area of development and by bringing together countries to share knowledge and solutions to the most pressing and complex challenges we all face.
Within their environmental and social focus area, World Bank established The Blue Economy, which encompasses a host of secondary economic platforms, including renewable energy, fisheries maritime transport, tourism, climate change, and waste management. Through this collection of focus areas, the global effort is working toward “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.”
As we all know, our oceans and waterways are critical to life. It’s also critical to our economic well-being. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that ocean-based businesses like commercial fishing, shipping, tourism, wind energy, and biopharmaceuticals, deliver $282 billion in goods and services to the United States economy annually. Yet all are threatened by climate change, pollution, and overfishing.
Enter: All Blue
Situated on the southeastern North Carolina coast, The Alliance for the Blue Economy (aka All Blue) is a significant Blue Economy hub working to secure the sustainability of the ocean’s resources. The local, multidisciplinary initiative was launched by the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is supported by the UNCW Center for Marine Science. Reflective of World Bank Blue Economy focus areas, the All Blue advisory board includes science and business leaders in tourism, marine robotics, sustainable aquaculture, marine biopharma, and coastal conservation and resilience.
All Blue is working to establish Wilmington and the North Carolina coast as a national and global leader in the Blue Economy. This area is known widely for its pristine maritime topography, including beaches and barrier islands. Its recreational opportunities and historic cityscape draw tourism revenue. And its growing reputation as a technology innovation and startup center is drawing talent and jobs to the area.
In November 2021, All Blue is hosting a very special inaugural event to announce its initiatives and celebrate the resources, business growth opportunities, and research strengths of the region. All Blue Week takes place November first through sixth, on the campus of UNCW and at locations around Wilmington and Cape Fear. The week will include a series of events, seminars, and recreational opportunities.
I’m excited and honored to deliver the keynote presentation addressing the challenges and opportunities in our Blue Economy.
In preparation for this tremendous opportunity, I will be jointly publishing a special series of Blue Economy Convergence Conversations with experts and stakeholders. These discussions will highlight the possibilities, issues, and reasons to be hopeful about the region, the Blue Economy, and the health of our oceans and waterways.