India’s CAG writes: Blueprint for a blue economy

Source– The post is based on the article “India’s CAG writes: Blueprint for a blue economy” published in “The Indian Express” on 4th May 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Economy. GS1- Geography

Relevance: Blue economy

News- The Comptroller & Auditor General of India will chair SAI20, the Engagement Group for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAls) of G20 countries in Goa in June. Two priority areas have been selected for SAI20 deliberations — blue economy and responsible Artificial Intelligence.

What is the recent contribution of the UN for the blue economy?

In 2018, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had for the first time laid out the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles. It is a framework that investors can use to fund ocean-based industries.

Financiers can use it as a reference point to see how marine investment can impact livelihood and poverty eradication.

What are issues with measurement of the blue economy?

The blue economy encompasses an array of coastal activities, including fishing and tourism. The measurement of the blue economy is challenging due to conflicting definitions and issues related to classifying different sectors and sub-sectors.

Existing international economic classifications are unable to properly differentiate between land-based and ocean-based activities. Even the System of National Accounts (NAS) does not provide a clear understanding of the blue economy.

A new accounting framework is needed that can objectively identify production, trade, and services related to the various segments of the blue economy.

What are the contributions of CAG towards the blue economy?

Last year, the CAG released the first-ever country-wide Compendium of Asset Accounts of Natural Resources. It is prepared in line with the UN system of Environmental and Economic Accounts.

Setting compliance standards and a national accounting framework for the blue economy is a long-term priority for the CAG.

In August last year, the CAG tabled its Conservation of Coastal Ecosystem report in Parliament. It contained its observations on how the Coastal Regulation Zone notification for 2011 and 2019 have been implemented between 2015 and 2019.

It looked at the underlining efficiency of development drivers such as project clearances, construction activity, institutional capacity to curb land and forest violations, community livelihood support mechanisms, and mitigation management plans to conserve biodiversity such as mangroves.

What are challenges for the coastal ecosystem in India?

Sea-level rise, water temperature, storm surges and wave conditions are some of the signs of climate change. Unbridled land use changes, sand mining and deforestation has impacted the coastal ecosystem.

Studies indicate that hazards of cyclones and sea-level rise are likely to be higher in the coastal regions.

GIS maps from the European Space Agency indicate that 15% of India’s coastal areas have witnessed changes between 1992 and 2018 due to agriculture, depleting forest cover and urbanisation.

Besides that, the population living along the country’s coastal areas is expected to rise from 64 million in 2000 to 216 million by 2060.

What is the importance of the blue economy for India?

Blue economy has been marked by the government as one of the 10 core sectors for national growth. The National Blue Economy Policy aims to harness maritime resources while preserving the country’s rich marine biodiversity.

What is the way forward for proper management of coastal areas for disasters?

Disaster-resilient infrastructure along coasts that can withstand the impacts of hurricanes, typhoons, and tsunamis is the need of the hour. This is particularly important for coastal communities.

There is a need for adequate infrastructure, especially ICT hubs for early warning systems.

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