Safeguarding ocean lifelines is India’s goal
Oceans are the lifelines of our planet, providing food, livelihoods, and a vital ecosystem. Leading upto G20, India is uniquely placed to anchor this process
Oceans are the lifelines of our planet, providing food, livelihoods, and vital ecosystem services. The ocean economy is growing rapidly, with global ocean-based industries generating an estimated $2.5 trillion annually. However, this growth has also led to increased pressure on marine resources and ecosystems, exacerbating climate crisis impacts, such as sea-level rise, shoreline erosion, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events. Urgent action is crucial, now more than ever. In this regard, a key enabler is dialogue and sharing of knowledge between all stakeholders.
The G20 forum has actively deliberated upon climate and sustainability issues of the oceans during the past few presidencies. The Indian presidency has anchored the Ocean 20 Dialogue during the 3rd Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting scheduled this month.
The Ocean 20 Dialogue will focus on three significant pillars of the blue economy — science, technology and innovation, policy, governance and participation, and blue finance mechanisms, each covered through a dedicated session. The platform will collectively seek answers on several fundamental questions concerning the creation and expansion of a sustainable and resilient blue economy that still need further articulation and clarity. Some of them are collaborations on mapping of maritime resources towards sustainable use; technology sharing on ocean-based renewable energy; and conservation and sustainable utilisation of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
India has met with significant success in its efforts to protect ocean health, and as the host nation of G20 this year, it is uniquely placed to anchor this process. India’s successful coral transplantation in the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Mannar exemplifies effective use of science. Furthermore, India’s approach towards Olive Ridley turtle conservation using satellite tagging and radio-collaring — a first in Asia — highlights how innovative, and cost-effective technology can aid marine species protection. Furthermore, consistent support to mangrove restoration has led to significant increase in mangrove cover as is evident from the latest Forest Survey of India Report. These initiatives embody the convergence of technology, policy, and community participation in fostering a sustainable blue economy, thus offering valuable insights.
Technology has a prominent role to play in pursuing a sustainable and climate-resilient blue economy. The dialogue will witness discussions around the state-of-the-art technologies and science-based interventions that can drive enhanced sustainability in maritime activities. The need for promoting grassroots innovations and community involvement to solve local problems and best practices are expected to be elements of the discussion.
The objective of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 — Life Below Water— involves several measures, beginning with establishing blue finance mechanisms. This will also be a critical topic of discussion at the Ocean Dialogue. The event presents a massive opportunity to the G20 countries to engage in a fruitful exchange of global knowledge, ideas, experiences, and best practices, and thereafter, collaborate to implement them regionally. By bringing together stakeholders from diverse sectors on a singular platform, the Ocean Dialogue is expected to play a leading role in this journey.
Leena Nandan is secretary, ministry of environment, forest and climate change The views expressed are personal