Ecosystems and other services provided by oceans are vast, offering opportunities for growth and sustainable development. Small developing states lag behind others in accessing and benefiting from these opportunities. The blue economy approach, combining conservation and growth in the context of oceans, provides a sustainable and integrated development strategy. It enables small states to provide ocean ecosystem services and to develop new industries in aquaculture, sustainable tourism, marine biotechnology, seabed mining and other growth sectors. Small states need global action to scale up climate financing, improve the valuation of marine ecosystem services and determine a price for blue carbon, as well as support the transition to the blue economy, including dedicated resources to finance conservation and blue growth.