Ocean Cities: Regional Policy Guide

The Ocean Cities concept is an integrated policy approach for ocean-focused and climate-responsive urban development strategies, with a focus on urban areas in Pacific island developing States. Ocean Cities are where urban landscapes and seascapes meet, where built and natural environments near coastlines interface and where human behaviour and urban development have profound impacts on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Ocean Cities are at the forefront of the climate change consequences, the urbanization challenges and other development pressures. Within the context of ongoing urbanization processes in Pacific island developing States, the guide recognizes the important links between the impacts of urban growth and development, climate change impacts, ocean health and coastal systems, and the effect these factors have on the development and resilience of Ocean Cities.

Cities face many challenges – demographic, climatic, economic – but they also generate many positive opportunities for future action. The Ocean Cities concept is about making that future a bright one by harnessing those activities and supporting a Pacific Way for cities that is culturally and environmentally affirming. Addressing the interlinked issues that are characteristic of Ocean Cities in an integrated, ocean-focused and climate-responsive manner is vital for sustainable development within island systems.

A key component of the Ocean Cities concept are nature-based solutions, which relate to the goals of increasing human well-being and resilience by working with, conserving or restoring nature and understanding ecological systems across interconnected social-ecological systems. Employing an integrated, participatory nature-based solutions approach to addressing societal challenges is an important way to take into account complex ecological and socio-cultural issues while taking a long-term view to improving human resilience and well-being.

An enabling environment for the implementation of solutions requires a wide range of resources, partnerships and meaningful engagement from countries and stakeholders at the regional, national and local levels; this document details five key policy action areas for implementation of Ocean Cities solutions.

Ocean Cities: Regional Policy Guide