G20 : Economic Cooperation ahead

Blue Economy: India’s G20 Presidency Offers An Opportunity


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Blue economy initiatives

Mains level: Blue economy, significance for sustainable development and challenges

Blue Economy

Central Idea

  • The potential of the oceans for the sustainable development of the blue economy is immense and the initiatives taken by the Government of India towards achieving it demonstrate India’s commitment to building a sustainable future for its marine resources and the global community. India’s G20 presidency provides an opportunity to promote collective action for the transition.

What is Blue Economy?

  • Blue Economy is defined by the World Bank as the Sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ecosystem.
  • Gunter Pauli’s book, “The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs” (2010) brought the Blue Economy concept into prominence.
  • The UN first introduced “blue economy” at a conference in 2012 and underlined sustainable management, based on the argument that marine ecosystems are more productive when they are healthy. In fact, the UN notes that the Blue Economy is exactly what is needed to implement SDG 14, Life Below Water.
  • The term ‘blue economy’ includes not only ocean-dependent economic development but also inclusive social development and environmental and ecological security.

The Potential of the Oceans

  • The oceans offer vast opportunities for the prosperity of our planet, with 45% of the world’s coastlines and over 21% of the exclusive economic zones located in G20 countries.
  • They are reservoirs of global biodiversity, critical regulators of the global weather and climate, and support the economic well-being of billions of people in coastal areas.

Facts for prelims: Government Initiatives

  • The Government of India has launched several initiatives to promote the development of a blue economy, such as
Initiative Description
Sagarmala initiative A program launched in 2015 to promote port-led development and boost the country’s maritime sector. It aims to modernize ports, improve connectivity and logistics, and promote coastal community development.
Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy A policy introduced in 2016 to provide financial assistance to Indian shipyards for the construction of ships. It aims to boost domestic shipbuilding and make Indian shipyards globally competitive.
Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana A scheme launched in 2020 to boost the fisheries sector in India. It aims to increase fish production, modernize fishing infrastructure, and create employment opportunities in the sector.
Sagar Manthan dashboard An online dashboard launched in 2018 to track the progress of the Sagarmala initiative. It provides real-time information on project implementation, fund utilization, and other related metrics.
Deep Ocean Mission A program launched in 2021 to explore the deep sea and harness its resources for national benefit. It aims to explore the deep sea, map its resources, develop technologies for deep-sea mining, and promote ocean conservation.
Coastal Regulation Zone notification A regulation introduced in 2019 to manage development activities along India’s coastline. It aims to balance the economic development of coastal areas with the conservation of coastal ecosystems and livelihoods of coastal communities.
  • The government has also taken steps to eliminate single-use plastic and combat plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.

India’s G20 Presidency and the Blue Economy

  • Key priority: India’s G20 presidency has prioritized the blue economy as a key area under the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group.
  • Promote sustainable and equitable development: The aim is to promote the adoption of high-level principles for sustainable and equitable economic development through the ocean and its resources while addressing climate change and other environmental challenges.
  • A guide for future G20 presidencies: India’s commitment to prioritizing oceans and the blue economy under its presidency would ensure continued discussions on this crucial subject and pave the way for future G20 presidencies.
  • Communication and collaboration: Effective and efficient ocean and blue economy governance presents a significant challenge, and India’s G20 presidency can build an effective communication with all stakeholders to share best practices, foster collaborations for advancements in science and technology, promote public-private partnerships, and create novel blue finance mechanisms.

Challenges and Responsibility

  • Ambitious efforts by countries to expand their blue economies are threatened by intensifying extreme weather events, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise.
  • Marine pollution, over-extraction of resources, and unplanned urbanization also pose significant threats to the ocean, coastal and marine ecosystems, and biodiversity.
  • The inherent inter-connectedness of oceans implies that activities occurring in one part of the world could have ripple effects across the globe.
  • Therefore, the responsibility of their protection, conservation, and sustainable utilization lies with all nations.


  • India’s G20 presidency offers an opportunity to promote individual and collective actions towards a sustainable blue economy. The stewardship of oceans is an investment that will sustain future generations, and the global community must unite for the well-being of our ocean commons.

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