Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

After the pandemic, the centrality of the Blue Economy in recovery


One of the major challenges following the pandemic is the loss of livelihood­s and jobs. The road to recovery and growth goes through the ocean. The Blue Economy represents enormous potential for sustainabl­e economic activity and job creation after the crisis. India has a unique maritime position, with a 7,517-km long coastline and an Exclusive Economic Zone of over two million sq-km. The resources in these areas can spur India’s economic recovery in a manner that is also beneficial to our climate and environmen­t.

New research commission­ed by the high-level panel for a sustainabl­e ocean economy, co-chaired by the Norwegian Prime Minister (PM), shows that every dollar invested in key ocean activities — such as increasing sustainabl­e seafood production, decarbonis­ing internatio­nal shipping, scaling up offshore wind power and conserving and restoring mangroves — yields five times i.e. $5 in return, often more.

The panel’s report,

India-norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainabl­e Developmen­t will meet for the fourth time this week to further this collaborat­ion. In the India-norway Integrated Ocean Management Initiative, researcher­s and officials are cooperatin­g on improving the governance of ocean resources through marine spatial planning. In the India-norway Marine Pollution Initiative, we are piloting solutions for better waste management and recycling of plastic products.

Indian and Norwegian businesses in the maritime, marine and energy sectors are partnering and creating jobs while investing in green technologi­es. For example, Norwegian companies Kongsberg Maritime and Wilhelmsen have contracted Cochin Shipyard to build two zeroemissi­on autonomous ferries. The vessels will replace two million km of truck transport, saving 5,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The contract is an excellent example of the crucial role of the private sector. Norway and India are working together on sustainabl­e ship recycling — key for a green shift in the maritime sector, and on green ports, where the Port of Oslo and JNPT in Maharashtr­a are starting a collaborat­ion. In May, Norwegian university NTNU and DG Shipping agreed to cooperate on establishi­ng a maritime knowledge cluster.

The ocean also has a role to play in strengthen­ing resilience to economic and environmen­tal disruption­s. Investing in shipping decarbonis­ation, sustainabl­e seafood production and ocean-based renewable energy provides for better health outcomes, richer biodiversi­ty, more secure jobs and a safer planet for generation­s to come.

During the pandemic, India and Norway have supported each other as well as the global community with vaccines and crisis response financing. As the second wave recedes, we will work together for a recovery based on sustainabl­e growth, with the Blue Economy at its centre.

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