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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : A shared G20 vision for the ocean commons

 

Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, G20, Global south, EEZ, blue economy, etc.
  • Mains GS Paper II & III: Significance of G20 countries, Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The oceans hold untrammeled opportunities for the prosperity of our planet.
    • The most prosperous cities and countries are endowed with a coast.

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INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

G20:

  • The G20 is an informal group:19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually: according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.
  • For the selection of the presidency: 19 countries are divided into 5 groups, each having no more than 4 countries.
    • The presidency rotates between each group.
  • Every year the G20 selects a country from another group to be president.
    • India is in Group 2 which also has Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.
  • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters.

 

The G20 countries:

  • They together account for around 45% of the world’s coastlines and over 21% of the exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

 

Role of oceans:

  • The oceans are reservoirs of global biodiversity
  • Critical regulators of the global weather and climate
  • Support the economic well-being of billions of people in coastal areas.
  • ‘Blue economy: It includes ocean-dependent economic development and inclusive social development and environmental and ecological security.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: To me, the blue chakra in India’s flag represents the potential of the ocean economy.”

 

Initiatives by the government:

  • Sagarmala initiative promotes port-led development.
  • The Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy encourages domestic ship-building.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana is actively engendering a ‘blue revolution’ through sustainable and responsible development of the fisheries sector.
  • The Sagar Manthan dashboard tracks vessels in real-time.
  • The Deep Ocean Mission explores deep-sea resources in the EEZ and continental shelf as well as development of technology for harnessing them.
  • India adopted the Coastal Regulation Zone notification to classify and better manage coastal regions and conserve ecologically sensitive coastal and marine areas including ecosystems.
  • Host of the World Environment Day in 2018: India gave a clarion call to eliminate single-use plastic.
  • In 2022, the global community rallied together for a multilateral treaty on addressing plastic pollution.
    • India introduced an amendment to the Plastic Waste Management Rules banning select single-use plastic items

 

India’s G20 Presidency and oceans:

  • The blue economy is articulated as a key priority area under the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group.
  • Aim:
    • To promote adoption of high-level principles that guide sustainable and equitable economic development through the ocean and its resources
    • Addressing climate change and other environmental challenges.
    • This approach is consistent with India’s call for the global adoption of ‘Lifestyle for the Environment’ that promotes mindful utilization over mindless consumption patterns.

 

Ocean related Issues discussed by G20 forum:

  • G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter
  • Osaka Blue Ocean Vision
  • Coral Research and Development Accelerator Platform.
  • Ocean 20 launch: Discussions on the blue economy

 

Issues related to blue economy;

  • Intensifying extreme weather events
  • ocean acidification
  • sea level rise.
  • Growing marine pollution
  • over-extraction of resources
  • Unplanned urbanization: It poses significant threats to the ocean, coastal and marine ecosystems, and biodiversity.

 

Way Forward

  • India’s commitment to prioritizing oceans and the blue economy under its presidency would ensure continued discussions on this crucial subject and pave the way for future G20 presidencies.
  • Interconnectedness of oceans implies that activities occurring in one part of the world could have ripple effects across the globe.
    • Therefore, the responsibility of their protection, conservation and sustainable utilization lies with all nations.
  • Since the blue economy involves a range of stakeholders and affects several other sectors of the national economy, effective and efficient ocean and blue economy governance also presents a significant challenge.
  • India’s G20 presidency would play an important role in promoting individual and collective actions to facilitate the transition towards a sustainable blue economy.
  • The G20 forum presents an excellent opportunity to build effective communication with all stakeholders to
    • share best practices
    • foster collaborations for advancements in science and technology
    • promote public-private partnerships
    • create novel blue finance mechanisms.
  • The international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, etc are closely interlinked.
  • The stewardship of oceans is an investment that will sustain future generations.
  • The spirit of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ must unite the global community for the well-being of our ocean commons.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

The long sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalized nations has disappeared on account of its new found role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate(UPSC 2019) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)