Introduction to Ocean Accounts Webinar

“Attempting to find the total value of the ocean would be a ‘serious underestimate of infinity’”

This is how Ken Findlay, CPUT Research Chair for the Blue Economy and WIOGEN Working Group leader, paraphrases a 1998 quote from World Bank economist, Michael Toman, during the webinar he delivered to the WIOGEN Ocean Accounts working group members on the 9th September 2020 via the web platform, Zoom.

The ocean, Earth’s life-support system, provides regulatory and maintenance services, provisioning ecosystem and abiotic services, cultural and recreational services and intermediate services. It is also dynamic, 3-dimensional, fluid and has porous boundaries. The ocean is changing, so is how we use it and understand it and adaptive ocean governance needs to incorporate those changes. Blue Economy approaches to ocean governance account for inclusivity and sustainability as well as non-market values.

“We manage what we can measure”, but how do measure beyond the contribution of the ocean to GDP – to include social and sustainability measures – and in a standardised, consistent way? Oceans Accounting is looking to provide a framework for consistent assessments that can help, for example, inform Marine Spatial Planning trade off discussions and strategy development in the context of the Blue Economy. The framework will incorporate both quantitative information and use qualitative information for relative measurements to develop trends, models and scenario planning. It meaningful integrates large volumes of data from different sectors into a consistent, comparable framework that can play a crucial role in Marine Spatial Planning, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Integrated Ocean Management and effective ocean governance.

An opportunity exists for a WIOGEN to play an important role in bringing Ocean Accounts to the Western Indian Ocean but increasing capacity and allowing a space for meaningful collaboration and dialogue. Let’s dive deeper into this, together.

Prof Ken Findlay, CPUT Research Chair: Ocean Economy