India and France have chalked out a roadmap to make the blue economy a driver of progress of their respective societies while respecting the environment and coastal and marine biodiversity.
Both countries aim to contribute to scientific knowledge and ocean conservation and ensure that the ocean remains a global common, a space of freedom and trade, based on the rule of law.
The agreement on the blue economy came during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to France.
According to the roadmap, the two countries would contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
“To this end, they intend to act in line with international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Convention for Biological Diversity, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, including the initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, adopted under the International Maritime Organisation. They extend their support to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030),” the document said.
India and France regretted that the ocean has suffered the harmful effects of global warming and pollution due to human activities which are manifested mainly through acidification phenomena, increased stress on natural mineral and biological resources, fall in fish stocks, displacement and loss of marine diversity, pollution – including plastic pollution – coastal erosion and rising sea levels.
The two countries underscored that fisheries are a vital economic sector and play a decisive role in food security and livelihood security, particularly for coastal populations. They also highlighted that demographic, economic and societal factors have led to an increased global demand for marine products and growing stress on global fish stocks. They thus called for a sustainable approach to fishing that would ensure decent living conditions to professionals of the sector, while conserving the resource in the medium and long terms, taking into consideration the voluntary guidelines of the Food and Agriculture Organisation for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication.
India and France reaffirmed their commitment to promoting cooperation between the European Union and India on the blue economy and ocean governance, in the framework of the common roadmap “EU-India Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025” and the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
The two countries said they plan to set up an India-France partnership on the blue economy and ocean governance whose scope will encompass maritime trade, marine trade in services, ports, the naval industry, fisheries, marine technology and scientific research, ocean observation, ocean modelling and forecasting services, marine biodiversity, marine protected areas, renewable marine energy, marine manufacturing industries, marine ecosystem-based management and integrated coastal management, marine eco-tourism, inland waterways, cooperation between competent administrations on civil maritime issues, marine spatial planning as well as international law of the sea and related multilateral negotiations.
They will also cooperate on developing domestic waterways, which is one of India’s priorities in the field of infrastructure development. This can include Infrastructure enhancement, fairway development, navigational aids and river information systems.