New Delhi: In what is seen as a significant step, India and France, as maritime nations with dynamic maritime economy sectors, have adopted a roadmap on Blue Economy and Ocean governance.
“India and France intend 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 document says.
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is on a visit to France and has held wide-ranging and productive talks with his counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. Both leaders discussed matters pertaining to the Ukraine situation, Indo-Pacific and overall global partnership.
“India and France wish to 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,” the statement said.
It further said, “India and France are aware 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.”
“As underscored in the India-France Joint Statement adopted on August 22, 2019, on the occasion of the visit to France of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India and France agreed that oceans play an important role in combating climate change, preserving biodiversity, and development,” it added.
India and France underscore fisheries are a vital economic sector and play a decisive role in food security and livelihood security, particularly coastal populations. They also highlight that demographic, economic and societal factors have led to an increased global demand for marine products and growing stress on global fish stocks.
The NITI Aayog in India and the Ambassador for Poles and Maritime Affairs in the MoFA in France will be contact points for coordinating the organisation of this dialogue and ensuring the involvement of competent ministries.
“They thus call for a sustainable approach to fishing that would ensure decent living conditions to professionals of the sector,” the statement said.
An MoU was signed between the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Ministry of Environment, Forest in 2018, resulting in a working group on the environment, which raises pressing matters on climate change, air quality, protected areas and biodiversity.
India and France are also committed 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.
India and France plan to set up an India-France partnership on the blue economy and ocean governance. To encourage scientific partnerships in marine sciences, the Embassy of France in India will endeavour, from 2022 onwards, to grant five student mobility scholarships. India will facilitate administrative aspects for the implementation of such partnerships, the statement said.