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Countries must do more to ensure sustainable development of ocean activities

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Countries need to work together to defend the ocean from a steady rise in temperature, pollution and overfishing that threatens its ability to continue supporting marine life and providing food and income to billions of people, according to a new OECD report.

Sustainable Ocean for All: Harnessing the benefits of sustainable ocean economies for developing countries says that with ocean-related economic sectors forecast to grow rapidly over the next decade, ensuring this development takes place in a sustainable way is critical.

While the COVID-19 crisis is hurting key ocean-based sectors, such as tourism and shipping, demands on marine resources for food, energy, minerals, transport, tourism and leisure will persist as the global population grows towards an expected 9 billion by 2050. If managed sustainably, the ocean could have the capacity to regenerate, be more productive, and support more prosperous societies. This will require governments to support those sectors less equipped to foster sustainable ocean economies by facilitating their access to finance and policy evidence.

“More than 3 billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods, and we are all dependent on it for supporting ecosystems, providing food and regulating the climate. Yet human activity is causing long-lasting and in some cases irreversible damage to it,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “It is crucial that we invest in ocean-related sectors in a way that fosters environmental and economic sustainability and puts people’s well-being at the centre, especially as we shape the recovery from COVID-19.”

Noting that the poorest countries tend to be both the most exposed to the effects of ocean degradation and the least equipped to respond, the report calls for co-ordinated action and more effective international development co-operation to improve sustainability of the ocean economy. The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, starting in 2021, should foster greater use of science and innovation to develop sustainable practices in a post-COVID world.

The report calls on all countries to phase out government support for environmentally harmful economic activities and use instruments like fees, charges, taxes and tradable permits to discourage over-exploitation, pollution and greenhouse emissions and encourage conservation and sustainable development of ocean activities. Such instruments can also generate much-needed financing for ocean sustainability. Taxes relevant to ocean sustainability – in particular taxes on ocean-related pollution, transport and energy –generated at least USD 4 billion globally in 2018.

The report’s analysis of six ocean-based industries (fishing, fish farming, fish processing, shipbuilding, maritime passenger transport, and freight shipping) shows that they contributed to more than 11% of GDP in lower middle-income countries and 6% of GDP in low-income countries in 2015, compared to less than 2% of GDP for high-income countries. In some low-income or island states, key ocean-based sectors like tourism can account for over 20% of GDP.

This reliance leaves developing countries highly exposed to the risks of deteriorating marine ecosystems, yet less than 1% of foreign aid is spent on conserving marine ecosystems and improving sustainability of ocean-related economic activities. The USD 3 billion in official development assistance (ODA) that was allocated on average to ocean activities annually over 2013-18 has tended to focus on expanding activities like ports or shipping without including efforts to improve sustainability.

Well-designed financing is essential to achieving sustainable ocean economies, yet data on ocean finance is scarce, and it is unclear how much of it contributes to sustainability. To help fill this gap, the report measures global development finance for the sustainable ocean economy and looks at private finance mobilised by ODA for ocean activities. It calls for environmental and social sustainability criteria relating to the ocean economy to be integrated into traditional financial services and investments, financial markets and credit markets.

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Aviation Sector Calls for Unified Cybersecurity Practices to Mitigate Growing Risks

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airplane travel

The aviation industry needs to unify its approach to prevent cybersecurity shocks, according to a new study released today by the World Economic Forum. The increased level of interdependencies can lead to systemic risks and cascading effects as airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturing take different approaches to countering cyber risks.

To guard against these risks and create a streamlined approach with civil aviation authorities, the World Economic Forum has launched the Cyber Resilience in Aviation initiative in collaboration with more than 50 companies.

The latest report, Pathways to a Cyber Resilient Aviation Industry, developed in collaboration with Deloitte, outlines how the industry – from airlines to airports to manufacturing and the supply chain – can work with a common language and baseline of practices. The report focuses on mitigating the impact of future digital threats on multiple levels:

International:

· Aligning regulations globally

· Establishing a baseline of cyber resilience across the supply and value chain

· Designing an impartial assessment and benchmarking framework

· Developing international information-sharing standards

National:

· Enabling reskilling

· Rewarding more open communication on aviation incidents

Organizational:

· Integrating cyber resilience in business resilience practices

· Ensuring risk assessment and prioritization

· Improving collaboration

“The aviation industry has developed a strong track record of safety, resilience and security practices for physical threats and must integrate cyber risks into this culture of safety and resilience,” said Georges De Moura, Head of Industry Solutions, Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum. “A common understanding and approach to existing and emerging threats will enable industry and government actors to embrace a risk-informed cybersecurity approach to ensure a secure and resilient aviation ecosystem.”

“The work of the World Economic Forum on aviation cyber resilience complements these global efforts led by the ICAO and is another excellent example of the importance of broad-based international collaboration among public and private stakeholders,” said Fang Liu, Secretary-General, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“Adopting a collaborative cyber-resilience stance and creating trust between cross-sector organizations, national and supranational authorities is the logical yet challenging next step,” said Chris Verdonck, Partner, Deloitte, Belgium. “However, if the effort is not collective, cyber risks will persist for all. Further solidifying an extensive and inclusive community and developing and implementing a security baseline is key to adapt to the current digital reality.”

The Cyber Resilience in Aviation initiative has enabled organizations to create plans as a community to safeguard against current and future risks. It convenes over 80 experts from more than 50 organizations across global aviation and technology companies, international organizations, trade associations and national government agencies. Major collaborators include ICAO, NCSC, EASA, IATA, ACI, Eurocontrol and UK CAA.

The recommendations and principles developed by the community have been published in a set of reports, allowing companies worldwide to learn from their insights and develop their own policies to ensure cybersecurity in aviation.

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Wide Variations in Post-COVID ‘Return to Normal’ Expectations

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London, UK, Covid-19 restrictions in place in Soho. IMF/Jeff Moore

A new IPSOS/World Economic Forum survey found that almost 60% expect a return to pre-COVID normal within the next 12 months. including 6% who think this is already the case, 9% who think it will take no more than three months, 13% four to six months, and 32% seven to 12 months (the median time). About one in five think it will take more than three years (10%) or that it will never happen (8%).

Views on when to expect a return to normal vary widely across countries: Over 70% of adults in Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, and mainland China are confident their life will return to pre-COVID normal within a year. In contrast, 80% in Japan and more than half in France, Italy, South Korea, and Spain expect it will take longer.

At a global level, expectations about how long it will take before one’s life can return to its pre-COVID normal and how long it will take for the pandemic to be contained are nearly identical. These findings suggest that people across the world consider that being able to return to “normal” life is entirely dependent on containing the pandemic.

An average of 45% of adults globally say their mental and emotional health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago. However, one in four say their mental health has improved since the beginning of the year (23%), about as many that say it has worsened (27%).

How long before coronavirus pandemic is contained?

Similar to life returning to pre-COVID normal, 58% on average across all countries and markets surveyed expect the pandemic to be contained within the next year, including 13% who think this is already the case or will happen within 3 months, 13% between four and six months and 32% between seven and 12 months (the median time in most markets).

Majorities in India, China, and Saudi Arabia think the pandemic is already contained or will be within the next 6 months. In contrast, four in five in Japan and more than half in Australia, France, Poland, Spain, and Sweden expect it will take more than a year.

Change in emotional and mental health since beginning of the pandemic about a year ago

On average across the 30 countries and markets surveyed, 45% of adults say their emotional and mental health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago, three times the proportion of adults who say it has improved (16%)

In 11 countries, at least half report a decline in their emotional and mental health with Turkey (61%), Chile (56%), and Hungary (56%) showing the largest proportions.

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African fisheries need reforms to boost resilience after Covid-19

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The African fisheries sector could benefit substantially from proper infrastructure and support services, which are generally lacking. The sector currently grapples with fragile value chains and marketing, weak management institutions and serious issues relating to the governance of fisheries resources.

These were the findings of a study that the African Natural Resources Centre conducted from March to May 2020. The centre is a non-lending department of the African Development Bank. The study focused on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in four countries – Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and Seychelles. The countries’ economies depend heavily on marine fisheries. The fisheries sector is also a very large source of economic activity elsewhere in Africa. It provides millions of jobs all over the continent.

The study dwells on appropriate and timely measures that the four countries have taken to avoid severe supply disruptions, save thousands of jobs and maintain governance transparency amid the ongoing global uncertainty and crisis.

Infrastructure shortcomings include landing facilities, storage and processing capacity, social and sanitary equipment, water and power, ice production, and roads to access markets.

Based on the findings, researchers made recommendations to strengthen the resilience of Africa’s fisheries sector in the context of a prolonged crisis, and looking ahead to a post-Covid-19 recovery.

The report strongly advocates for:

– Increased acknowledgment of the essential role of marine fisheries stakeholders and the right of artisanal fishermen to access financial and material resources.

– Strengthening the collection of gender-disaggregated statistical data in a sector that employs a vast number of women and youth.

– Establishing infrastructure and support services at landing and processing sites of fishery products, with priority access to water.

– Investing in human capital to ensure high-level skills in the different areas of fisheries management.

– Improving governance frameworks by encouraging the private sector and civil society to participate in formulating sectoral policies and resource management measures.

The study recommends urgent reforms to make marine fisheries more resilient and enable the sector to contribute sustainably to the wealth of the continent’s coastal countries.

Marine fisheries are a crucial contributor to food security and quality of life in Africa. Good nutrition is a key factor to quality of life, and the marine fisheries sector supports the nutrition of more than 300 million people, the majority of whom are children, youth and women. It also provides more than 10 million direct and indirect jobs.

Dominated by artisanal fishing and traditional value chains, the fisheries sector in Africa is mainly informal and is rarely considered in public policies or in assessing the wealth of countries.

Like other sectors, the African fisheries sector has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid has affected supply markets and regional trade. This has resulted in substantial economic losses for most households that depend on fisheries.

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