The green economy and the blue economy have both received significant attention in small states, particularly small islands developing states (SIDS), as alternative economic approaches to address growing financial uncertainty and vulnerability. Although there is still debate on what is meant by the green or blue economy, they have been promoted as offering a more resilient and sustainable economic path; one that re-balances the social, environmental and economic drivers.
The blue economy has its origins in the green economy concept. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines the green economy as one ‘that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities’. Green economy strategies tend to focus on the sectors of energy, transport, sometimes agriculture and forestry, while the blue economy focuses on fisheries sectors and marine and coastal resources. Both incorporate strategies to address climate mitigation and adaptation.
Democratic institutions and people’s participation are crucial ingredients in making resilient societies. The case studies demonstrated that multi-stakeholder and multilevel approaches with a strong emphasis on the people on the ground are key to building resilience and the foundation of a green or blue economy. Strong civil society networks help facilitate collaborative multi-stakeholder approaches and in preparing and responding to shocks. Local, community based facilitators are important to support a high level of communication and the sharing and negotiation of perspectives and interests amongst local communities and between communities and government at all levels.