By: Eng. MSc. Mehdi BEN HAJ
President of Tunisian Association for Coastal, Ports & Maritime Engineering
Geographically, two thirds of our planet surface is covered by water. Oceans and seas are still considered as the source of life and remain essential to sustaining it. They contribute widely to absorb greenhouse gases, produce oxygen, provide food and mineral salts and mitigate climate changes.
In history, a lot of human civilizations were existed and propagated through the sea. Oceans, seas and coasts have been usually highly productive ecosystems furnishing a spectrum of unmatched possibilities, opportunities and solutions for intensively participating directly and indirectly to economic equilibrium and growth.
For these reasons, coasts are the most populated and coveted zones on earth and the major part of world trades were and still by maritime highways connected by ports. But, this context has allowed to exercise an increasing anthropic pressure which affected the health of coasts and oceans
Opportunities and Challenges
In times of economic crisis, new opportunities for growth and job creation are welcome. Oceans and seas not only can provide these in plenty but in the face of a scarcity of resources in land and a continuous growing population, they will also be more soughted for many human essential needs as food, medicine, energy, water, etc.
Consequently, the exploitation and use of blue resources are increasing day after day and this is has a price to pay. In this case, oceans and seas are facing notable ecological risks that will probably affect negatively the social and economic outlooks of many countries.
Healthy oceans and seas are vital to a sustainable future for the planet, that’s why we should take care of these precious treasures. For that, we should make common efforts in order to reach the SDGs and particularly the SDG14.
The waypath to follow
The scope for blue business activities is enormous but existing economic practices and policies mostly follow standard development models. The reached results are negatives for the sustainability of our blue planet. Therefore new sustainable and inclusive development models should be indentified in order to assure simultaneously environment preservation and oceans and seas resources exploitation.
The transition to a sustainable blue economy will require the mobilization of many global efforts in all levels, especially in the frame of the SDG 17.