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Results BriefsMay 11, 2022

Preparing the Foundation for a Vibrant Blue Economy in the Eastern Caribbean

Aereal view of St Lucia


The Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP) helped prepare the foundation for five Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member countries (Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to transition to a vibrant Blue Economy by developing Coastal and Marine Spatial Plans, expanding marine data aggregation tools, and increasing awareness of sustainable ocean resources through provision of online educational tools.

Beneficiary Story/Quote

“This Blue Economy Roundtable is a great initiative that plays a pivotal role in providing Caribbean member states with guidelines on the introduction and improvement of Blue Economy Ecosystem Services. I have captured knowledge which is assisting me to effectively implement my current project goals.” – Clyelle Flavius, Evaluations and Monitoring Officer, Department of Sustainable Development St. Lucia, Government of St. Lucia


Economic growth in the Eastern Caribbean has long been volatile due to the concentration of activity in a few sectors and vulnerability to natural disasters and other external shocks. In addition, the region’s natural assets faced grave human-induced pressures, including burgeoning coastal development and over-exploitation of marine resources, due to weak planning and unsustainable practices. The region’s natural assets offered unprecedented economic opportunities to address poverty and unemployment. Well-managed natural capital was fundamental to enabling sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in the OECS region.


The Caribbean has long been at the forefront of raising awareness about investment opportunities in the Blue Economy (defined by the World Bank as sustainable and integrated development of oceanic sectors in healthy oceans). To foster a vibrant Blue Economy across the region, OECS countries recognized the need to establish a clear Ocean Governance Framework, improve and expand marine data aggregation and analytical tools, and increase knowledge and awareness about ocean-related matters through enriched educational content. The World Bank, through CROP, enabled OECS member states to significantly advance in these areas through the development of national policies to govern sustainable use of ocean resources, establish data aggregation tools to support marine spatial planning, and promote increased awareness among decision makers about the importance of sustainable ocean resources management. Through knowledge products and workshops, project beneficiaries developed their capacity to adopt good ocean governance practices and take more informed decisions over sustainable management of ocean spaces at both national and regional levels.


CROP delivered concrete results fundamental to unlocking Blue Economy opportunities and investments in the Eastern Caribbean, namely:

  • CROP established five National Ocean Governance Committees (NOGCs) or equivalent within each participating country and produced five National Ocean Polices (NOPs), which assisted participating countries to set the governance arrangements for marine management and promote Blue Economy:

                o   As of December 2021,  three new NOPs were prepared for Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Lucia and two NOPs were revised for St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


  • Between 2018 and 2021, CROP also delivered a Regional Marine Spatial Planning Framework, five national Coastal and Marine Spatial Plans (CMSPs) and OECS Blue Economy Strategy and Action Plan, which seeks to position OECS as a model region for the Blue Economy.
  • From 2019 to 2021, the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy (ECROP) was revised and aligned with the SDG 2030 agenda, and OECS model legislation on fisheries and pollution was prepared with the aim to help countries update and enhance their legislation on these areas.
  • Since 2018, these ocean policy and marine spatial planning mechanisms were produced in a participatory manner engaging more than 1776 stakeholders who represented different groups of governments, NGOs, community, academia, private sectors and Indigenous People. 
  • Ocean data coverage was improved through the CROP Mapping Ocean Wealth Platform, interactive maps, and integrated geographic information system (GIS) applications from 2019 to 2021. These geospatial tools have democratized access to data and information, and help government decision makers to make better informed resource management decisions.
  • About 30 Blue Economy knowledge and learning products were developed since 2019, including e-books, e-learning courses, educational games, educational videos, webinars, and technical briefs, which were tailored to audiences ranging from school age children to government officials.  These learning products have been made accessible to policy makers and public service officers, which have served to sensitize communities and decision makers on the importance of the Blue Economy. Also, more than 950 educational tools were delivered to primary schools in each participating country.
  • CROP outputs such as an enhanced ECROP, NOPs, and model fisheries legislation have supported non-participating OECS member states to develop their own national Blue Economy plans.

Bank Group Contribution

The World Bank, through the  Global Environment Facility (GEF), provided funding in the amount of  $6.3 million.


Fostering strong partnerships was an essential ingredient for successful results and increased awareness of the Blue Economy across the Eastern Caribbean. CROP developed key partnerships with OECS member states, the OECS Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization, Virtual Educa, government agencies, local consulting firms, civil society, the Kalinago community in Dominica, private entities, and academia. Strong collaboration with these partners enabled delivery of all project activities, laying the groundwork for a vibrant Blue Economy across the region.

Looking Ahead

The results delivered by CROP benefitted OECS member states that applied the knowledge generated from the project’s outputs to inform their own Blue Economy plans. The forthcoming $60 million International Development Association (IDA) and PROBLUE-financed Unleashing the Blue Economy in the Caribbean (UBEC) Series of Project (SoP) (P171833), which is under preparation and pending Board approval, reflects a clear commitment to significantly scale up Blue Economy investments in the region, beginning in Phase I (in the 2022 fiscal year) with Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the OECS Commission. The UBEC SoP was a direct result of CROP’s success in advancing the creation of a vibrant Blue Economy in the Eastern Caribbean.

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