Towards the “Blue Society”

Since the start of the industrial revolution, human activities have significantly altered the very balance of our planet and the lives we all live. These activities have heavily affected marine ecosystems and the way we use our seas and oceans. European marine biodiversity is under severe threat from a range of pressures including pollution, climate change and ocean acidification, overexploitation of marine resources and invasive alien species (EEA, 2010). 


The Sea For Society project, funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, aims to develop a new and ambitious vision for society. A vision which embraces the spirit of sustainability, well-being and equity for humankind as its guiding principle and which will lead to the development of the “Blue Society”.

As part of the Sea For Society project, IUCN will be coordinating a group of experts in order to define the new “Blue Society” approach, which at its core will be the premise that our seas and oceans can be used for the benefit of human well-being and must be protected for the sake of future generations and the health of the marine environment. Through the coordination of the Expert Group, IUCN will be responsible for producing a definition of the Blue Society in the form of a detailed report.

Through its expertise in science, governance and sustainable development, and its access to a network of international experts, IUCN has a major role to play in developing new scenarios and making sure that the best information and capacity are available for implementing these strategies.

The Sea for Society project will foster greater understanding among decision makers, NGOs, industry and the wider society of how to tackle the economic, environmental and social pressures the world is currently facing.

Partners: Nausicaá, EurOcean, Institute of Oceanology (Pl), AquaTT, UGOT, Ciência Viva, Spanish Institute of Oceanography, Costa Edutainment, Science Museums of Coruna, Marine Institute (Ie), Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Research (No), Instituto Superior Técnico (Pt), Ecsite, EBN, National University of Ireland, World Ocean Network, IFREMER, Studio K

Project duration: June 2012 – November 2015

For more information, please contact: Helen Klimmek, or Carole Martinez, and visit the Sea For Society website


Did you know?

  • 120 million people are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU, which is some 6 million more than at the beginning of the economic crisis (European Commission, 2013) and in several maritime regions across Europe there has been severe economic decline, causing high levels of unemployment (Ecorys, 2012).
  • Under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, all EU countries have committed to achieve Good Environmental Status in their marine waters by 2020, which for most environmental pressures will mean an ambitious range of measures to ensure such an objective is achieved.
  • The EU's blue economy represents 5.4 million jobs and a gross added value of just under €500 billion per year. By 2020 the EU hopes to increase this to 7 million jobs and €600 billion a year (European Commission, 2012).
  • According to the European Commission, there is significant opportunities for economic growth in marine sectors such as aquaculture, biotechnology, energy production and the maritime sector (European Commission, 2012).


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