OECD Survey: Localising the Blue Economy. Towards a Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable and Circular approach to the blue economy in cities and regions
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This survey has been developed as part of the project Cities and Regions for a Blue Economy of the OECD Water Governance Programme within the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE). The project advocates for a localised approach to the blue economy in which local and national governments and stakeholders share the task of implementing a Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable and Circular (RISC-proof) blue economy, through good governance at the right scale. It involves both coastal and inland cities and regions in which a significant share of economic activity depends on oceans, seas, deltas, rivers and lakes.


The survey benefitted from input from the OECD Environment Directorate and was developed in collaboration with the following organisations:


  • To build knowledge on the scope and the state of play of the blue economy in cities and regions, including the main drivers, challenges, threats and impacts of the blue economy at local level, and formal blue economy initiatives across levels of government.
  • To identify the governance landscape of the resilient, inclusive, sustainable and circular (RISC-proof) blue economy across levels of government.
  • To inventory future priorities for the RISC-proof approach to the blue economy in cities and regions.


  • Subnational governments in charge of water and blue economy. Respondents are officials from local and regional governments or river basin organisations. Coordination with other municipal/regional departments, specialised agencies and port authorities may be needed to respond to some questions.
  • OECD and non-OECD member countries.
  • For the purpose of this survey, in addition to coastal cities and regions, inland cities and regions whose economic activities depend on deltas, rivers and lakes are invited to respond.
  • Cities and regions of all sizes


Survey respondents are kindly invited to:

  • Provide their contact details for follow-up in case clarifications are needed
  • Try to answer all the questions in the survey, including open ones
  • Make reference to examples as often as possible
  • Provide sources including links and documents when relevant

Kindly note that:

  • All respondents will be acknowledged in the OECD documents and reports

If you wish to save your answers and return to the survey at a later time, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Start the survey.
  2. Click on "Save progress and resume later" at the bottom left of the screen.
  3. Follow the instructions to save your survey.
  4. Resume the survey by clicking "Load unfinished survey" at the bottom left of the first page of the survey.


The responses will provide the basis for:

  • A policy paper on The Blue Economy in Cities to be presented at COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt (November 2022).
  • City profiles and a Discussion Paper on Localising the Blue Economy to be presented at the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York, United States (March 2023).
  • A Synthesis Report on The Blue Economy in Cities and Regions to be launched at the 10th World Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia (March 2024).

Please fill in the survey online by 16 September 2022. Please address any questions or comments to oriana.romano@oecd.org and juliette.lassman@oecd.org


  • The blue economy encompasses “all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts” (European Commission 2018), “together with the assets, goods and services provided by marine ecosystems” (OECD, 2016). It relates to the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem and health” (World Bank, 2017).
  • Resilience is about addressing the root causes of crises while strengthening the capacities and resources of a system in order to cope with risks, stresses and shocks (OECD, n.d.). Resilient cities are cities that have the ability to absorb, recover and prepare for future shocks (economic, environmental, social & institutional) (OECD, n.d.a).
  • The circular economy is an economic paradigm that aims to prevent waste and pollution, keep resources in use for as long as possible, and transform waste into resources (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, n.d.).
  • Water governance is the range of political, institutional and administrative rules, practices and processes (formal and informal) through which decisions are taken and implemented, stakeholders can articulate their interests and have their concerns considered, and decision-makers are held accountable for water management (OECD, 2015).
  • Water risks. The OECD (n.d.) identifies for major risks related to water: risk of too much, of too little water, of too polluted water, and of disruption to freshwater systems. In addition, the lack of access to water supply and sanitation can be considered as another water-related risk.
  • Water security is about managing water risks, including risks of water shortage, excess, pollution, and risks of undermining the resilience of freshwater systems (OECD, 2013).

For further definitions, please refer to the OECD scoping note on  Cities and Regions for a Blue Economy.