Course Overview

Earth's defining feature is the ocean and it is the reason that life exists. It produces oxygen, absorbs carbon dioxide, and contributes to freshwater renewal. The ocean provides important goods and services to all of society, connecting countries and cultures while supporting ecosystems that cross national boundaries. It is a major part of the world economy, with more nations looking to the ocean to enhance livelihoods and wellbeing, particularly coastal communities and island nations. Some nations are looking at their large lakes and rivers to do the same.

The concept of the blue economy is a loosely defined development model that builds on that of the green economy and encompasses a range of activities and policy aspirations that vary globally. These aspirations are influenced by economic growth and socio-ecological sustainability priorities. Equitable, just, and sustainable blue economy frameworks will require innovative governance and practice across all levels of society. This course will explore the key components of the blue economy and link these to practical examples.

The course is designed as an introductory course to attract participants from various backgrounds, both technical and non-technical. The integrated, cross-sectoral nature of the blue economy provides opportunity for new knowledge to be developed, regardless of how much or how little you may know.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the blue economy, its priorities and some of the challenges in operationalising a blue economy.
  2. Identify ocean sectors that form part of the ocean economy and those that have the potential to build a sustainable ocean economy.
  3. Recognise the importance of natural capital and ecosystem services to the blue economy.
Kelly Hoareau

Week 1: Introduction to the Blue Economy
1.1  Course orientation
1.2  What is the blue economy?
1.3  The key principles of the blue economy

Week 2: Innovation and the Blue Economy
2.1  Coastal and ocean industries
2.2  Blue economy stakeholders
2.3  Blue economy innovations

Week 3: The Blue Economy in Practice
3.1  Blue economy knowledge support
3.2  National blue economy strategies

Week 4: Understanding Ecosystem Services
4.1  Introduction to ecosystem services
4.2  Our reliance on ecosystem services
4.3  Ecosystem threats

Week 5: Ecosystem Services and Global Ocean Economies
5.1  Valuing ecosystem services
5.2  The fundamental techniques used to value natural resources and ecosystem services
5.3  Natural capital and the blue economy