China in release tuesday by it’s National Development and Reform Commission and the State Oceanic Administration titled “Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative”, advanced plans for three ocean-based “blue economic passages” that will connect Asia with Africa, Oceania, Europe and beyond. The proposal’s stated goal is to advance maritime cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. The three blue economic passages will be priority maritime cooperation tasks according to the release.
In the release, China also expressed willingness to engage in all-dimensional and broad-scoped maritime cooperation and build open, inclusive cooperation platforms with countries along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, promoting mutually beneficial “blue partnerships” and forging a “blue engine” for sustainable development.
The document called on countries along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to focus on “sharing blue space and developing the blue economy,” which will target issues such as marine environment protection, marine interconnectivity, maritime security and common oceanic governance.
China will adhere to the Silk Road Spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefits, shelving differences and building consensus, said the document, which was an outcome of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in May.
The nation also promised to abide by market rules and international norms, giving play to the primary role of enterprises.
The document stressed joint development and benefits sharing among participating countries. “We will plan together, develop together and share the fruits of cooperation,” it said.
BELT & ROAD: China proposed blue economic passages
The China-Indian Ocean-Africa-Mediterranean Sea blue economic passage, will run westward via the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, and link with the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, and connect with the China-Pakistan, and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors.
The China-Oceania-South Pacific passage will run southward via the South China Sea into the Pacific Ocean, while another economic passage is also envisioned linking Europe via the Arctic Ocean.
BELT & ROAD: On blue economic passages
For some, blue economy means the use of the sea and its resources for sustainable economic development. For others, it simply refers to any economic activity in the maritime sector, whether sustainable or not.
A sustainable blue economy is one that provides not just economic, but social benefits for present and future generations. A blue economy recognizes marine ecosystems as its natural capital, and protects and maintains them accordingly. It also aspires for social and economic stability through the use of clean technology and renewable energy.
A sustainable blue economy is inclusive, marked by stakeholder participation; well-informed, precautionary, and adaptive; accountable and transparent; holistic, cross-sectoral, and long-term; and innovative and proactive.
Finally, the brief presents a number of suggested steps in the creation of a blue economy that are available to the private and public sectors, among them setting clear, measurable and consistent goals; assessing performance in achieving these goals; applying the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM); and sharing information, best practices, and lessons.