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close this bookThe Oceanic Circle - Governing the Seas as a Global Resource (UNU, 1998, 257 pages)
close this folder3. Ocean perspectives: economic
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe economic impact of global marine industries
View the documentFuturistic industries: quantifiable
View the documentOcean-related indicators
Open this folder and view contentsOngoing initiatives about ocean-related indicators
View the documentGaps in ocean-related indicators
View the documentConclusions
View the documentThe ethical dimension
View the documentPrinciples and guidelines for the economics of the Common Heritage for the twenty-first century
View the documentNotes

Ocean-related indicators

Our first Report to the Club of Rome13 concluded its discussion on the "economics of the common heritage" with the following recommendations:

A great deal of research will be needed in this new field on, for example, the need for and the cost of subregional, national, regional, and global services. Research will also be needed on deducted values arising from negative synergisms of conflicting uses of ocean space and resources; from present technological gigantism, risk management, and pollution economics; and from conflicts between military and peaceful uses of the marine sector of the economy. In addition, investigators must examine the utilization value of services provided and production created (for example, by aquaculture facilities and technologies, mining ships and technologies and OTEC plants); the generation of secondary and subsidiary industries (e.g., canning, construction, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, land-based transportation); and above all, how to define a set of usable social indicators that will properly assess and monitor the generation of real wealth. The latter research would help point out inadequate economic policies and organize actions toward specific as well as general goals. It should be a feasible exercise to select the most adequate indicators, even considering the delicate political problems likely to be encountered in gaining their acceptance. A recognized institute could then issue periodic verifications of the changes brought about in the level of wealth, with reference to the indicators, and stimulate the appropriate actions.

A great deal of work on social and environmental indicators has been done since the writing of these recommendations. It is deplorable, however, and almost beyond belief that most of this work has concentrated on terrestrial systems and activities. The oceans have been sadly neglected. In this section we are trying to contribute to closing this lacuna.

Indicators in fact are needed to perform measurements of monetarized and non-monetarized resources in a more comprehensive theory of wealth and welfare, rooted in the concept of the Common Heritage of Mankind.

Traditionally, indicators are defined as information which (a) is a part of a specific management process and can enable comparisons of results to be made over time and between policies; and (b) has been assigned a significance beyond its face value. Indicators can be developed (and distinguished) from general-purpose statistics that have important applications in their own right, and then be used for problem-solving of given issues.

This section presents in the first part ongoing initiatives relevant to ocean-related indicators, discusses in the second part gaps in ocean-related indicators, and explores in the third part the validity of ocean-related indicators in the light of the new economics of the Common Heritage of Mankind. Conclusions round up the analysis.