India, Norway to conduct marine spatial planning in Lakshadweep, Puducherry

at 4:06 pm
Marine Spatial Planning
Representational image

New Delhi (NVI): India and Norway have today agreed to jointly work in the area of marine spatial planning in the oceanic space for the next five years with Lakshadweep and Puducherry being identified as pilot sites for the project.

The two countries have decided to extend support for sustainable ocean resource utilization to advance economic and social development in coastal areas.

The first project steering committee meeting with representatives from both countries was successfully conducted virtually recently, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Earth Science.

After the meeting, the two countries have charted out a plan to ensure that human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe, and sustainable manner in areas such as energy, transportation, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, etc. across multiple sectors, the statement added.

“This is a part of the Indo-Norway Integrated Ocean Initiative under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in 2019,” it added.

The initiative known as Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) through National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) for India.

Puducherry and Lakshadweep have been chosen for the pilot project in view of their setups with unique opportunities for multiple sectors (such as industries, fisheries, and tourism) to flourish, the ministry stated.

In the future, the marine spatial planning framework of these two environmentally critical areas can be replicated to other coastal regions of the country.

The Government of India’s initial investments for undertaking the studies and planning are estimated to be around Rs 8-10 crore per annum.

Notably, the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have expressed interest in supporting MoES in conducting MSP, a societal-beneficial initiative for India’s coastal regions.

Furthermore, the initiative will be implemented by MoES and the Norwegian Environment Agency through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway.

Earlier, NCCR had developed coastal management plans for Chennai, Goa, and Gulf of Kachchh which proved very successful. Now, the MSP initiative will aid the development of multiple economic sectors and stakeholders in a greater number of coastal areas of the country.

In addition to MoES, the first project steering committee meeting was attended by representatives from several stakeholder ministries namely Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of External Affairs; Ministry of Shipping; Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries; Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying; Ministry of Tourism; and state governments of Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep.

The Government of India’s vision of New India by 2030 highlights the blue economy as one of the ten core dimensions of growth.

“MSP is globally identified as a tool for sustainable and integrated ocean management. It is a noted area for work in India’s (draft) Blue Economic Policy being developed by MoES,” the statement read.