The vision of the Oceano Azul Foundation is as follows: In a context of an inevitable expansion in the economic use of the oceans, and faced with the significant marine environmental degradation that is currently taking place, we need to see a gradual break of the link between economic growth and marine environmental degradation, eventually reaching a paradigm of sustainability in which new economic activities linked to the ocean will be developed in synergy with its protection. This paradigm will be achieved by:
(i) deepening society’s understanding of the importance of the challenge of achieving ocean sustainability;
(ii) bringing about a pronounced change in behaviour, especially of decision‑makers, but also among business people, various users of the ocean and society in general;
(iii) this, in turn, will enable the creation of a new governance for the ocean, based much more on ethical values and on sustainability (ocean stewardship).
These changes will have, as a corollary, and be accompanied by, the gradual development of a sustainable blue economy, one that will allow the development of new economic activities without making the marine environment deteriorate.
The Mission of the Oceano Azul Foundation
As a consequence of, and in line with the vision outlined above, the mission of the Foundation is to contribute to the sustainability of a healthy and productive ocean, by seeking to:
(i) deepen society’s understanding and knowledge of the importance of ocean sustainability, with a particular emphasis on new generations, particularly through education programmes;
(ii) contribute to changing peoples’ behaviour in relation to the ocean, by supporting ocean conservation, and promoting and sharing success stories and good practices;
(iii) contribute towards a new governance of the ocean, guided by ethical values and based on scientific knowledge, by supporting capacity building, particularly in the creation of regulations/laws and innovative public policies, their implementation and in the sharing of good practices;
(iv) encourage the development of an environmentally friendly economy (blue economy), promoting innovation and sustainable technologies, for a sound use of marine resources through capacity building actions.
In brief, these four elements of the mission statement constitute four objectives, which can be taken forward in three areas of action:
1st Objective (Deepen understanding and knowledge of the ocean) corresponds to an Area of Action focusing on education and literacy regarding oceans.
2nd Objective (Change the behaviour of political, economic and academic decision-makers and the general public with regard to the ocean) corresponds to an Area of Action focusing on promoting ocean conservation and sharing and communicating environmental values.
3rd Objective (Contribute towards a new governance of the oceans) corresponds to an Area of Action focused on capacity building directed to promote sound regulation and adequate public policies.
4th Objective (Support the development of a new, sustainable blue economy that replaces unsustainable activities and practices) corresponds to an Area of Action also focused on capacity building, but aimed in particular at economic agents who can contribute to this new blue economy, whether they originate from traditional maritime activities such as small-scale fishing or from emerging economic sectors, such as marine bio-resources industries.
An integrated vision and management of the Foundation’s work as a distinctive mark (joining up the dots)
Since the four objectives contained in the mission of the Oceano Azul Foundation are directly derived from its unique and integrated vision, they should not be pursued in a segmented and sectoral manner. Rather, their interconnectedness should be enhanced through an integrated vision and management that allows synergies to be created between them.
This approach, which focuses on joining up the dots, or linking key ideas together, should be a constant in pursuing the Foundation’s mission. Only such an approach can enable the Foundation to maximise its impact. In effect, efforts that combine or link the domain of knowledge with that of conservation or capacity-building and development of the ocean will have a greater impact than work that focuses solely on one particular action in any of these domains, or focuses on all domains but does not establish any interconnection between them.
Large international foundations in the United States and Europe that are dedicated to oceans tend to specialise in only one area – generally in ocean conservation. They tend not to develop a wider vision that would allow them to fully explore a more holistic approach or move towards “linking key ideas together”, an approach that should constitute a distinctive factor in the Oceano Azul Foundation’s existence. In this sense, all of the Foundation’s work in education, knowledge, scientific research, conservation, sharing, communication and capacity-building in the governance and sustainable economic development of the ocean belongs to the same vision and contributes to the goal of developing a blue economy based on a healthy and productive ocean.
To look at the planet’s sustainability from the ocean’s point of view.