"Oceans are a key pillar for many countries in their development and fight to tackle poverty but the wide range of ecosystem services, including food security and climate regulation, provided by marine and coastal environments are today under unprecedented pressure," Achim Steiner, director of the U.N. Environment Program, said in a statement.
A 24-page report by UNEP highlights economic areas in the marine sector that could realize economic gain through environmentally friendly investments.
The report examined everything from marine-based renewable energy to deep-sea minerals and coastal tourism. UNEP said these investments provided a substantial economic opportunity for developing island nations in the Asia-Pacific and Caribbean regions.
"Stepping up green investments in marine and coastal resources and enhancing international cooperation in managing these trans-boundary ecosystems are essential if a transition to low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy is to be realized," Steiner said.