ASEAN’s Blue Economy Vision emphasises value creation by advancing sustainable practices that promote sustainable and inclusive economic and social development related to marine and freshwater activities and livelihoods, contributing to ASEAN economic integration efforts, economic growth, and sustainable development. By leveraging the potential of the blue economy, ASEAN envisions a new engine for growth that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) views the blue economy as a multifaceted, cross-cutting concept; its leaders committed to promoting it through the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Blue Economy, which was adopted at the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summit in October 2021 and have tasked the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) to oversee the overall implementation of this Declaration and explore and develop modalities for cooperation on the Blue Economy
The ASEAN Blue Economy Framework (the Framework) affirms the ASEAN commitment to regional cooperation on the blue economy, advancing its priorities to facilitate value creation, resilience, inclusivity, and sustainability. Furthermore, the framework supports the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, other ongoing work on ASEAN Carbon Neutrality Strategy, and ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (2021–2025) while aligning, with the United Nations Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)4 , and other international commitments such as various agreements under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Framework expanded the reference of blue economy under the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Blue Economy,5 which encompasses inland freshwater, taking into consideration the landlocked area, province, country, and region. It also reaffirms the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out and is of strategic importance as the basis for national, regional, and global action and cooperation in the marine sector. Also, in line with one of the objectives of the ASEAN Outlook on the
Indo-Pacific for implementing existing and exploring other ASEAN priority areas of cooperation, including maritime cooperation, connectivity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), economic and other possible areas of cooperation, the Framework promotes collaboration and cooperation while envisages ASEAN Centrality as the underlying principle for promoting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Framework also advances the ASEAN ambition to develop an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable blue economy, making the region a significant contributor to economic growth and prosperity. It is indeed an ambitious vision, building on the strengths of existing ASEAN initiatives, which identifies priority areas for action, principles to guide decisions, and enablers to accelerate the realisation of a blue economy in the region. The Framework is intended to move from the current sectoral approach to a multilateral, integrated, and participatory approach at multiple levels in ASEAN. As such, developing a
framework needs a whole-government approach that ensures effective implementation of ASEAN Blue Economy, with a focus on the economic aspects.