19. September 2018 New IfW-Working Paper reveals: EU coastal states fail to achieve comprehensive blue growth

A new study of Future Ocean members shows a missing development of further implementing the Sustainable Development Goal 14

Sustainable growth in all marine and maritime sectors is not only a declared goal of the EU, but also firmly anchored in the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations' Agenda 2030. A recent study by IfW researcher and Future Ocean Member Wilfried Rickels and his colleagues from GEOMAR and Kiel University should be a warning shot: Almost all the EU coastal states studied are in a worse position in 2018 than in 2012 with regard to the sustainable development of their seas and oceans. A convincing development was missed, especially in fisheries.


The Sustainable Development Goal for the oceans and coasts (SDG 14) as part of the 2030 Agenda can be considered as an important step towards achieving more comprehensive blue growth. In their study the scientists selected a set of 18 indicators to measure progress against SDG 14 for EU coastal states in the Baltic and the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean since 2012. In their assessment they distinguish between a concept of weak and strong sustainability, assuming high and low substitution possibilities, respectively. Overall, they could show that the majority of countries in our assessment fail to achieve comprehensive blue growth. Sweden, Spain, Ireland, and in particular Portugal experienced a considerable reduction in scores since 2012. The only exemption is Estonia which managed to improve its scores over time under both concepts of sustainability. The unsustainable development at the EU level is mainly driven by deteriorations in indicators related to fisheries.

Original Work:
Does the European Union Achieve Comprehensive Blue Growth? Progress of EU Coastal States in the Baltic and North Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean against Sustainable Development Goal 14,
KIEL WORKING PAPER NO. 2112 | SEPTEMBER 2018, Wilfried Rickels (IfW), Christian Weigand (IfW), Patricia Grasse (GEOMAR), Jörn Schmidt (Kiel University), Rudi Voss (Kiel University)

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