'There have been a lot of initiatives at the global level. It has almost become an existential crisis for countries like Maldives, Fiji, and Seychelles. The Blue Economy is gaining prominence in different parts of the world in different ways...'
‘Sustainable Blue Economy way to mitigate, adapt to changing climate’
March 27, 2023
Dr Ashish Chaturvedi, head of Action for Climate and Environment, UNDP-India, tells Alok Deshpande about the Blue Economy, the need for adopting a comprehensive policy framework for it, and why pursuing this sustainable economy is an effective approach to mitigate and adapt to changing climate.
What is the Blue Economy?
When you start thinking about water as a resource, there are fresh water bodies and oceans. The blue economy essentially refers to the oceans. There have been significant physical, chemical and biological changes in the ocean environment due to pollution, disposal of different substances including plastic, and fertilisers among others. Given that many traditional livelihoods such as fisheries, coastal communities, and tourism depend on the oceans, there are significant consequences of these changes. As a result, we are losing out on the vast potential of economic growth and livelihood in coastal areas… The blue economy recognises the criticality of the oceans and its resources, and further prevents the degradation of marine environment.
What is happening globally with regard to the Blue Economy?
There have been a lot of initiatives at the global level. It has almost become an existential crisis for countries like Maldives, Fiji, and Seychelles. The Blue Economy is gaining prominence in different parts of the world in different ways… All the G-20 countries are in the coastal region. These countries have been historically relying on its ocean resources… Every G-20 country is doing this, and India has put it on its G-20 priority.
Where does India stand?
We did a lot in the recent years. The ship building, fisheries sector as well as maritime vision of India for 2030 was launched in 2021. The initial draft for developing a comprehensive policy framework for the Blue Economy was released in 2020. At a time when in G-20 India is putting it as one of its priority areas, this needs to be adopted at the earliest as it is still in the draft stage…
What is the reason for adopting the draft?
I think it is an inter-ministerial issue. It has to be coordinated between multiple ministries. We are not directly involved in the process. But the PMO has made it clear that this needs to get a push. So, that will happen soon.
Will climate change affect the model of the Blue Economy?
Climate change will certainly have some impact on the Blue Economy. It has been mentioned in several IPCC reports. We have to think about the non-linear changes that will occur due to climate change…
Pursuing the Blue Economy is an effective approach to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate.
So, when one thinks about working on the conception of this economy for a country, you have to look at the threats that the changing climate poses, and incorporate that in your plans… for a sustainable infrastructure.
Original blog published in The Indian Express