Anno 2014, there is a shared understanding between governments, the private sector, academic institutions, international organisations and others that the planet is increasingly facing environmental problems. The need to strive to solve these problems by changing the way we govern and use our planet is widely recognised, resulting in the development of new approaches and ideas. The Clingendael Academy combines its expertise in Diplomacy with the recently developed concept, ‘the Blue Economy’.
Last week, a new training programme entitled “Economic Diplomacy, Sustainable Development and the Blue Economy” for diplomats and government officials from South Africa started. It intends to enhance the capacity of South African diplomats and civil servants to effectively strive for global sustainability and promote the Blue Economy. This new initiative follows a long-standing partnership in diplomatic training between South Africa and the Netherlands, a relationship currently counting for over 21 years .
At the basis of the Blue Economy lay nature-inspired technologies that could affect the economies of the world as ways to provide sustainable benefits to the commons. Its principles permit to respond to the basic needs of all with what the Earth provides us. While the Green Economy model has required companies to invest more and consumers to pay more to achieve the same while preserving the environment, the Blue Economy addresses sustainability issues that move beyond preservation to regeneration.
A central theme of Blue Economy-inspired solutions is the field of water. South Africans, together with two-thirds of the global population, live in coastal states. Oceans and their oil resources are needed to run the economy, to transport global goods, and to provide a sustainable living for many. How can partnerships and multi-sectoral capacity-building in naval and maritime sectors be promoted, including shipping that is informed by environmental imperatives and sustaining healthy oceans?
What The Blue Economy emphasises is the vast potential of innovative use of the world’s greatest resources. Participants engage in discussions with researchers as well as with a range of successful Dutch ‘blue’ practitioners of whom many are active in South Africa.
Enhancing the participants’ understanding of the substance fulfills only half of this training’s objective. Evenly important are enhancing diplomatic skills needed to effectively communicate and negotiate new ideas. Several trainers have been invited to enhance the participants’ skills in international negotiations and effective influencing. Negotiation skills were put into practice during a simulation game, focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals that are currently being developed at the United Nations.
If you would like to know more about the course on Economic Diplomacy, Sustainanable Development and the Blue Economy or about other tailormade diplomatic courses, please contact Mara van der Meer.
9 December 2014