Last March, Clingendael Academy hosted eighteen mid-career diplomats and experts from various ministries from Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS) for the fifth edition of the course on Blue Economy. The participants came from the Caribbean, the Pacific, Africa and the Indian Ocean region. Each state has its own specific challenges relating to climate change and the sustainable exploitation of ocean resources. However, many of the solutions and opportunities can be found in international and regional collaboration.
The potential of oceans for sustainable development is immense. This training marked a focus on the common agenda, priorities and challenges for representatives of the SIDS, striving for a healthy oceans and their contribution to the quality of life.
"We are small, so we have to be big together. It’s all about collaboration."
How can marine sources be better managed to benefit the economy, the people and the environment? How to deal with the consequences of climate change, such as the rising sea level? What are the latest developments and innovations in the area of energy, fisheries and aquaculture and the reduction of plastic pollution in the sea? In what way can their governments work together with companies, research institutes and NGOs?
These were just some of the questions the group explored during the two-week training. In doing so, the participants engaged in in-depth discussions with experts and paid several work visits, such as to the Port of Rotterdam, Deltares and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The participants also participated in training sessions to build on their active listening and negotiation skills, a skill-set that could be of use to strengthen SIDS’ efforts in international fora on climate and water and ocean sustainability.