Blue Economy, USS Nimitz and the Way Forward

9 November 2017 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

The concept of “Blue Economy” has been introduced to Sri Lanka by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources along with a Think Tank to collect knowledge from all walks of life. Although many countries focused on the “Green Economy” for a long time, countries that depend on their coastal resources, have already adopted the Blue Economy concept, and Sri Lanka too has joined the venture. Blue Economy Sri Lanka embraces Sri Lanka’s 530,684 sq km of territorial waters and its vivid natural resources for sustainable economic development. Over 50% of our population reside in the coastal areas and as an island nation, Sri Lanka has is now working in parallel with the UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDG 14] for this purpose.   

Many of us did not realize the importance of Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean and to the world. But China did, and funded various projects here. India too has identified the importance of our location which is apparent due to the growing relationship between Sri Lanka and India


As per the UN SDG 14, oceans serve as the largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein and over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods (UN SDG 14,2016). However, the majority of individuals who are unfamiliar with the proper scope of the concept have been misled into thinking that Blue Economy is a venture that has to be undertaken by Non-governmental Organizations and non-state institutions, giving more priority to the environment and maritime security issues. However, Blue Economy is not something that can simply be run by several NGOs. A government organization - namely the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources - need to be a presence in the undertakings. We need to take the road together, instead of partitioning environment and maritime security. We need to go in parallel to each other. We need to go forward with the UN SDG 14 as one country, especially because we are an island nation. 

 
Furthermore, it has to be noted that a title or a designation that one might have does not mean that particular individual has grasped the precise scope of the concept. Extravagant titles are not sufficient enough to run Blue Economy. The Ministry of Fisheries has established a think tank in order to gather the ideas and knowledge from all walks of life, including the fishermen who are the crux of Blue Economy. If we take a lot at many of the individuals who have won the world, their educational achievements and titles were not important. For example, the late Steve Jobs was one of the richest and most successful men in the world. He dropped out of Reed College to become the father of Apple, Macbook, iPhone,  iWatch etc. Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and instead invented Facebook. At 33 years, he is now owns a wealth worth USD 73.8 billion. There are such individuals in this country. We realize that titles and designations are not  only that defines knowledge. Experience in what you do gives you more knowledge, which is why we have established the ‘Think Tank’, to collect ideas and garner knowledge from the grassroots.   

Many of us did not realize the importance of Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean and to the world. But China did, and funded various projects here. India too has identified the importance of our location which is apparent due to the growing relationship between Sri Lanka and India


Many of us did not realize the importance of Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean and to the world. But China did, and funded various projects here. India too has identified the importance of our location which is apparent due to the growing relationship between Sri Lanka and India. Diplomacy is the practice of conducting negotiations among representatives of states. It usually refers to international diplomacy, the conduct of international relations through the intercession of professional diplomats with regard to a full range of topical issues. These countries have identified Sri Lanka’s potential and are moving forward with diplomacy in order to build and strengthen ties with us. 

As a country, we must have one methodology to run as one. The so-called centre will be ideal in this case. Thus, if we are to move forward, under one charge, we need to adapt these perceptions and act as one country under one state organisation

 
 The USA has also taken steps to strengthen the diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group including the USS Nimitz, the cruiser USS Princeton and destroyers USS Howard, USS Shoup, USS Pinckney and USS Kidd is a poignant example to show the importance of Sri Lanka’s location and America’s desire to strengthen diplomacy with us. Sending such a carrier is not a one-day job. However, it has been done, because the US is interested in us. Sri Lanka has the perfect location to establish a multidisciplinary university-based centre, dedicated to research, education and training on maritime law and security and natural marine resource management.   
 It is indeed true that the Indian Ocean Region is in dire need of a network of political and economic maritime partnership to strengthen regional framework, in order to be an effective platform to create a healthy discussion to suitably exploit ocean resources in a sustainable manner. However, what we must realise is that Sri Lanka has the perfect location to do so. As I mentioned earlier, the fact that an US aircraft carrier visited Sri Lanka for the first time since 1985 shows that the rest of the world has understood the importance of our location.   

Thus, it is time we realised that Blue Economy is a serious matter that needs serious attention. The government organisation needs to be involved when matters with regard to Blue Economy are take up for consideration. We need to understand that importance of Sri Lanka’s location and work accordingly. This is mandatory because we are to move forward as one country under a Blue umbrella.   


In order to do so, a National Centre for Ocean Resources needs to be established here in Sri Lanka. There are many components under the Blue Economy, such as Fisheries and Nutrient Cycling, Marine Tourism, Sea Transportation, Ocean Energy, Co2 Capture and storage, Minerals and Waste Management. All of these components aim to explore ocean resources. However, Sri Lanka, despite the fact that it is an island, has yet to establish a genuine centre for ocean resources. Thus, it is about time establish such a centre. In addition to giving advice on policy development, the ‘centre’ will focus on the ocean and its resources, which is necessary especially seeing as Sri Lanka is an island. Once it is established, the key player should be the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The main reason for this proposition is that it is fisheries that contribute the most to the GDP. There are many fishermen on our island and we must go forward very methodically in a systematic manner to discuss everything related to the subject at this centre. As mentioned earlier, Sri Lanka is situated at a strategically important place in terms of location, and it is time we made use of this. Thus, this National Centre will be established under one roof - the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The Centre will be handling a proper system for everything regarding the ocean, in order to link all subjects together. That is the prime duty of the Centre.   


As a country, we must have one methodology to run as one. The so-called centre will be ideal in this case. Thus, if we are to move forward, under one charge, we need to adapt these perceptions and act as one country under one state organisation. 


The writer is the advisor to the State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and Vice Chairman of National Fisheries Federation

  Comments - 0


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment


Who is the best presidential candidate for the economy?

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the clear front runner in the presidential race; even b

Virtual clothing battles the effects of “fast fashion’’

The term “fast fashion” encapsulates a type of clothing that is moved fro

‘Flygskam’ Is it possible to be an eco-friendly flyer?

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist and Olympic athlete Björn F

Carbon and Energy Footprint of a Garment Manufactured in Sri Lanka

The apparel industry in Sri Lanka is –historically- a recent addition to th

MIRROR CRICKET