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SAI20: Blueprint for a blue economy  

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Economy and related issues/Environment, Conservation


Source: IE

 Context: The Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) will chair SAI20 – the Engagement Group for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAls) of G20 countries in Goa.


What is SAI20?

  • The SAI20 Engagement Group of G20 was established in 2022 during Indonesia’s Presidency of the G20.
  • The constitution of SAI20 stems from a recognition of the role of SAIs in –
    • Promoting the efficiency, accountability, and transparency of public administration, and supporting SDG implementation.
    • Promoting intergenerational equity and addressing climate change concerns.


Meaning of blue economy and its significance:

  • The global annual value of the blue/ocean economy is ~$2.5 trillion.
  • About 90% of global trade by volume [75% by value] is carried out through sea routes.


Efforts to promote blue economy:

Global India
Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles (2018): Laid out by the UNEP, the framework can be used by Investors to fund ocean-based industries and Financiers to see how marine investment can impact livelihood and poverty eradication. The blue economy is one of the 10 core sectors for national growth in India.




COP15 (CBD): It laid out the global biodiversity framework to conserve and sustainably use the planet’s biodiversity. A National Blue Economy Policy that aims to harness maritime resources while preserving the country’s rich marine biodiversity has been prepared by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Compendium of Asset Accounts of Natural Resources: This first-ever country-wide handbook (by CAG) sets a national accounting framework for the blue economy.
Conservation of Coastal Ecosystem report by CAG: The audit resulted in focused recommendations to help improve the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) ecosystem.



  • The measurement of the blue economy is challenging due to conflicting definitions and issues while classifying different sectors and sub-sectors.
  • Climate change: Sea-level rise, water temperature, storm surges, cyclones and wave conditions are some of the signs.
  • Land use changes, sand mining and deforestation impinge on the coastal ecosystem.


In the context of India,

  • ~15% of India’s coastal areas have witnessed changes between 1992 and 2018 due to agriculture, depleting forest cover and urbanisation.
  • The population living in the country’s coastal areas is expected to rise from 64 million in 2000 to 216 million by 2060.


Two priorities for SAI20 deliberations: Blue economy and responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI).


What is expected in the blue economy deliberations?

  • Preparation of technology-driven tools to assess authorised development in coastal stretches and track marine water quality.
  • Evolution of globally relevant audit toolkits for coastal spaces, which include –
    • Legal and institutional frameworks,
    • Compliance with coastal regulations,
    • Biodiversity conservation,
    • Capacity building and compliance to SDGs.


Way ahead:

  • Disaster-resilient infrastructure along coasts
  • ICT hubs for early warning systems
  • The SAI20 audit toolkits being prepared under the leadership of the CAG of India will provide a unique opportunity for constructive dialogue to improve the auditing of ocean-based activities.


Conclusion: The audit toolkits will help in the assessment of policy goals, and resource efficiency while leveraging economic opportunities towards a truly sustainable blue economy-based global development model.


Insta Links:

Building a blue economy: What India can learn from China


Mains Links:

Defining the blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (UPSC 2018)