At G20 meet, consensus on nine principles of ‘blue economy’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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At G20 meet, consensus on nine principles of ‘blue economy’

ByJayashree Nandi, Chennai
Jul 29, 2023 12:04 AM IST

Environment minister Bhupender Yadav said the principles will “serve as a guiding framework globally to drive the transition to a sustainable and resilient blue economy”.

The two-day G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) and Environment and Climate ministers meeting that concluded on Friday adopted a series of “Chennai High-Level Principles” for a sustainable and resilient blue economy, or ocean-based economy, even as the group failed to arrive at a consensus on key issues pertaining to climate mitigation.

Bhupender Yadav (Hindustan Times)
Bhupender Yadav (Hindustan Times)

Officials in the environment ministry said the adoption of nine principles will not only help conserve ocean biodiversity but also address the consequences of climate change on ocean-based economies in the G20.

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In a series of tweets after the meeting, environment minister Bhupender Yadav said the principles will “serve as a guiding framework globally to drive the transition to a sustainable and resilient blue economy”.

“In a historic decision, the G20 Members adopted the Outcome Document on the ‘Chennai High-Level Principles on Sustainable and Resilient Blue/Ocean-based Economy’. It shall serve as a guiding framework globally to drive the transition to a sustainable and resilient blue economy,” Yadav tweeted.

Blue economy refers to advocating sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems.

“The leaders attending the meet in Chennai thanked India’s Presidency for its efforts in developing the compendiums of best practices, technical documents and technical studies. A total of 10 Presidency documents were launched under the identified priority areas of Land and Biodiversity, Blue Economy, Water Resource Management and Circular Economy,” he added.

Prioritising ocean health was among the nine principles adopted by the grouping, according to the outcome document which was reviewed by HT. The key features of this principle are addressing coastal and marine pollution from all sources, such as from plastics, air pollutants and other persistent pollutants, including those derived from the maritime sector, unsustainable exploitation and illegal activities that affect the marine environment.

The group also decided to acknowledge and address the links between ocean and climate. This, according to the bloc, will help push ocean-based economies to recognise ocean-climate interlinkages, opportunities for climate change mitigation and adaptation through sustainable ocean-based actions like protection, sustainable use and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems, harnessing full potential of low and zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions’s sources, and research on safe and effective use of ocean-based carbon dioxide removal and sequestration.

Promoting social and inter-generational equity and gender equality was also decided at the meeting. “Transparent and inclusive approaches are important for empowering women and communities and Indigenous Peoples, to fully and effectively participate in the planning, decision making and implementation processes through appropriate skill development and benefit from the economic opportunities provided by the sustainable Blue/ Ocean-based Economy,” the document said.

A senior environment ministry official, who did not wish to be named, said: “All nine principles are focused on conserving the oceans from the impact of climate crisis, such as sea level rise and ocean acidification, and protecting marine biodiversity. This is a major leap forward and a great success because these measures also help us in addressing climate change.”

On the issue of land degradation, the outcome document reiterated support for the global ‘30 by 30’ goal.

In December, countries across the globe adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) that seeks to bring the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity, close to zero by 2030, while respecting the rights of indigenous people and local communities.

The G20 meeting committed to achieving the goal.

“We reiterate, in line with the KMGBF, the commitments, by 2030, to ensure that at least 30 per cent of areas of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and marine and coastal ecosystems are under effective restoration and to ensure and enable that at least 30 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas, and of marine and coastal areas are effectively conserved and managed, while ensuring that any sustainable use, where appropriate in such areas, is fully consistent with conservation outcomes, and urge others to do the same,” the document said.

It added that the G20 would focus on restoring, where feasible and appropriate, forest fire or wildfire-impacted areas and lands degraded due to mining activity.

“We note the importance of the remediation of degraded mining lands and the science-based restoration of their ecosystems which is necessary to address environmental degradation and can have co-benefits, including soil formation, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, sustainable forest management and the improved quality and availability of water resources,” the document said.

In an interview to HT on Thursday, Canada’s environment minister Steven Guilbeault said: “I am grateful to India for putting forth a strong language on the global biodiversity framework and the 30 by 30 goal. It’s a language that’s largely agreed on by the G20, so we will be able to make progress on that.”

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