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Atkins to undertake Blue Economy Assessments for the World Bank

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has been appointed by the World Bank to undertake Blue Economy Assessments in the Eastern Caribbean to help countries make more sustainable use of their coastal and marine assets at the national and regional level, both economically and environmentally.

The Blue Economy, a concept originating during the 2012 Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is a way of ensuring coastal and marine resources are used in a sustainable way whilst adding to the local economy.

It includes everything sea-related, from fisheries to offshore wind energy, and is particularly relevant to small island developing states where the land mass is relatively small, but ocean space is vast.

Chris Mcdougall, Associate Director at Atkins, said:

“The Blue Economy helps countries diversify their economic base, making them less reliant on a single source of income for their GDP. Too many small island economies have become reliant on tourism, making them vulnerable to outside forces, like hurricanes and Covid-19.

Our past work on Blue Economies in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Pacific regions has demonstrated the potential coastal and marine resources have in transforming the economy and improving local livelihoods and quality of life.”

Atkins’ assessments for the World Bank will focus on six countries: Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and the Dominican Republic and will look specifically at opportunities around fisheries and aquaculture, sustainable tourism, and waste management including marine plastics.

The work builds on Atkins’ previous Blue Economy projects for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the European Commission, which were amongst the first Blue Economy plans developed.

Sylvia Michele Diez, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank, said:

“Covid-19 has seriously disrupted the world economy, particularly in areas like the Caribbean that are heavily reliant on tourism. This Assessment will help unleash the potential of the Blue Economy in the Eastern Caribbean and support sustainable development in these countries and for the benefit of their people.”

The Blue Economy Assessments to be conducted are directly linked to UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) which not only sets the 2030 target of increasing the economic benefits to small island developing states (SIDS) from the sustainable use of marine resources, but is also an indispensable building block supporting additional SDGs, most notably SDG 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere).

The assessments will also provide strategic direction to assist with recovery from Covid-19. A more developed and sustainable Blue Economy will also support local SMEs and entrepreneurs as it encourages cross-sectoral value chain linkages and the use of cutting-edge technology; it also has the potential to improve gender balance as it actively seeks to involve more women in the Blue Economy.

St George’s University in Grenada will support the delivery of the project providing crucial data and national engagement. The project is due to complete in June 2021, with ideas for early interventions presented to the World Bank at the end of this year.

Atkins will also produce Blue Economy roadmaps for each country and link these to the country’s marine research agenda, identifying areas where marine research is required and using that research to inform which Blue Economy ideas are taken forward.

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