India and Norway to conduct marine spatial planning in Lakshadweep, Puducherry
The two sides have charted out a plan to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe, and sustainable manner
In a bid to support sustainable ocean resources utilization to advance economic and social development in coastal areas, India and Norway have agreed to jointly work in the area of marine spatial planning in the oceanic space for the next five years.
Lakshadweep and Puducherry have been identified as pilot sites for the initiative known as Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) which will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) through National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) for India.
The MSP initiative will be implemented by MoES and the Norwegian Environment Agency through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, said a statement by MoES on Wednesday.
Recently, the first project steering committee meeting with representatives from both the countries was successfully conducted virtually after which the two countries have charted out a plan to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe, and sustainable manner in areas such as energy, transportation, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism.
It is part of the Indo-Norway Integrated Ocean Initiative under the MoU signed between the two countries in 2019, the MoES statement said.
Lakshadweep and Puducherry 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.
India's initial investments for undertaking the studies and planning are estimated to be around INR 8-10 crores per annum. In the future, marine spatial planning framework of these two environmentally critical areas can be replicated to other coastal regions of the country.
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, the MoES release mentioned.
Earlier, National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) had developed coastal management plans for Chennai, Goa, and Gulf of Kachchh which proved very successful. Now, the MSP initiative will aid development of multiple economic sectors and stakeholders in a greater number of coastal areas of the country.
Referring to the Government of India’s vision of New India by 2030 which highlights the blue economy as one of the 10 core dimensions of growth, the Ministry of Earth Sciences said that Marine Spatial Planning 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 release noted.