The Pacific blue economy: An instrument of political maneuver

Philippa Louey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    As large ocean states with aspirations for sustainable development, it comes as little surprise that Pacific Island nations have found appeal in the concept of the blue economy. This paper attempts to map the construction and mobilization of the blue economy concept in the Pacific Islands over the last ten years through case studies of three regional bodies: the Pacific Small Island Developing States grouping (PSIDS), the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). Rather than working to uncover some central definition or understanding of a Pacific blue economy, this paper frames the concept as a political tool that is mobilized by specific agents in response to specific challenges and in pursuit of specific goals. It is suggested that the blue economy has been engaged as an instrument of political maneuver by Pacific regional bodies, with these agents leveraging the concept across both regional and international platforms to advance their political and diplomatic interests. However, emerging observations also indicate a potential disconnect between the political effectiveness of this concept and its material reality, namely its ability to advance sustainable ocean development outcomes on the ground to the benefit of Pacific communities and ecosystems. Therefore, while the blue economy may present an attractive political tool for Pacific Islands agents, this paper suggests that greater scrutiny is required into the concept's material value and virtue.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMarine Policy
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Cite this