India and Norway agree to conduct marine spatial planning in oceanic space
Under the initiative, India and Norway have decided to extend support for the sustainable utilization of ocean resources to advance social and economic development in coastal areas.
The Union Ministry of Earth Science informed on March 3, 2021, that India and Norway have decided to work together in the area of Marine Spatial Planning for the next 5 years in the oceanic space.
According to the statement, the first meeting of the project steering committee was held in a virtual mode, after which both India and Norway charted out the plan for ensuring that the human activities at sea take place in a safe, efficient and sustainable manner in the areas like fisheries, transportation, energy, tourism, and aquaculture.
The Marine Spatial Planning is part of the Indo-Norway Integrated Ocean Initiative which was signed under MoU between the two nations in 2019. Puducherry and Lakshadweep have been identified as the pilot sites of the project.
• The Marine Spatial Planning- MSP initiative will be executed by the Earth Sciences ministry through NCCR- the National Centre for Coastal Research for India.
• Under the initiative, India and Norway have decided to extend support for the sustainable utilization of ocean resources to advance social and economic development in coastal areas.
• NCCR, in the primary phase, will develop a marine spatial planning framework for Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
• The sites have been chosen for the project in view of their setups with unique opportunities for the multiple sectors (like tourism, industries, and fisheries) to flourish.
• The initial investment of the Indian government for undertaking the planning and studies has been estimated to be around Rs. 8-10 crores.
Framework of MSP can be replicated to other coastal regions:
According to the release, the framework of marine spatial planning of these two environmentally critical areas (Lakshadweep and Puducherry) can be replicated in other coastal regions of the country as well.
Notably, the United Nations Environment Program and the World Bank have expressed interest in supporting the Earth Sciences Ministry in conducting marine spatial planning which is a societal-beneficial initiative for the coastal regions of India.
The initiative will be implemented by and the Norwegian Environment Agency and Earth Sciences Ministry through the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Norway.
NCCR had also earlier developed coastal management plans for the Gulf of Kachchh, Goa, Chennai, which proved to be very successful. Now the latest initiative will aid the development of multiple stakeholders and economic sectors in a greater number of coastal areas of India.
Blue Economy: Vision of New India
The Indian government’s vision of New India by 2030 highlights the blue economy as one of the 10 major dimensions of growth. Marine Spatial Planning has been globally identified as a tool for integrated and sustainable ocean management. It is a noted area for work in the Blue Economic Policy of India being developed by MoES.