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World Bank, Washington, DC
Middle East and North Africa | Middle East | North Africa
2019-02-04T18:13:50Z | 2019-02-04T18:13:50Z | 2019-01-10

The MNA region has rich marine ecosystems that can play a key role in eroding extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity through the Blue Economy—the sustainable use of marine resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, jobs, and overall ecosystem health. The Blue Economy includes a wide range of activities, from fisheries and aquaculture to other ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and biodiversity. For example, MNA has large coastal areas important to the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, many of them poor and vulnerable. These include fisheries and aquaculture, much of it small-scale and increasing substantially in recent years, from 2,484,644 and 393,987 metric tons, respectively, in 2000 to 4,743,814 and 1,820,983 metric tons in 2016. Many MNA countries rely heavily on imports for food and fisheries and aquaculture supplement the food supply, impacting food security and nutritional diversity. These ecosystems also play a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation as seas absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and coastal habitats, like mangrove forests and sea grass beds, sequester carbon and help to protect coastlines, preventing erosion from floods and storms. Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM)—which coordinate policies, activities, and investments impacting coastal and maritime resources—are critical to capturing the opportunities of the Blue Economy.


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