July , 2023
Blue economy for peace and development on earth in the third millennium
10:49 am

Markandey Rai

The world is currently facing a challenging time with the multiple impacts of Climate Change, COVID-19, and conflicts such as the Ukraine-Russia war. We are struggling to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the slogan of “Leave No One Behind (LNOB)” outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

On November 15, 2022, the global population reached 8 billion, marking a significant milestone in human development. However, per capita consumption continues to rise, leading to job losses during lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation remains high worldwide. In this context, the Blue Economy offers hope for achieving the SDGs and promoting peace and development.

Two-thirds of our planet is covered by the sea, yet we have not fully explored its potential. Instead, we have exploited it and polluted it with tons of plastic and other waste, causing harm to marine ecosystems. The second Ocean Conference organized by the United Nations (UN) took place in Lisbon from June 27 to July 1, 2022. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the ocean’s significance during this conference, stating that it can be our greatest ally in addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. He called for a commitment to a sustainable blue economy that creates jobs while protecting the planet.

The UN has warned of an “ocean emergency,” highlighting the urgent need to strengthen sea-protection measures. Thousands of activists, scientists, and leaders gathered at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon to address this issue. The conference aimed to listen to the voices of people and the sounds of nature.

Mr. Guterres apologized to the youth on behalf of his generation for not adequately protecting the ocean and expressed the importance of finding ways to save it for the benefit of people and the planet. He emphasized the role of young people in taking action to rescue our planet.

The Blue Economy is a concept that aims to address the preservation of ocean health while promoting improved livelihoods, job creation, transportation, and better stewardship of marine resources. It encompasses economic, scientific, social, cultural, technological, and environmental aspects for the sustainable and responsible use of ocean resources.

The World Bank defines the blue economy as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and job creation, while ensuring the health of the ocean ecosystem. The UN also emphasizes the need for sustainable management of ocean resources, collaboration across borders and sectors, and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which focuses on life below water.

The European Commission, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Centre for the Blue Economy provide their own definitions and perspectives on the blue economy, emphasizing the economic activities related to oceans, seas, and coasts, as well as the need for better stewardship of ocean resources.

The blue economy encompasses various sectors, including traditional activities like fisheries, tourism, and maritime transport, as well as emerging industries such as renewable energy, aquaculture, seabed extraction, and maritime biotechnology. It also considers the non-market benefits provided by ocean ecosystems, such as carbon storage, coastal protection, cultural values, and biodiversity.

To unlock the potential of the blue economy, it is crucial to address challenges such as the degradation of ocean resources, the lack of investment in human capital, and inadequate care for marine resources and ecosystem services.

The eight-volume World Encyclopedia of Blue Economy, jointly published by the Indian Institute of Ecology and En-vironment (IIEE) and the Confederation of Indian Universities (CIU), provides comprehensive information on various aspects of the blue economy. The encyclopedia covers sectors like aquaculture, fishing, maritime transport, offshore. 


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