India and Norway will jointly work in the area of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in Lakshadweep and Puducherry to ensure that human activities at sea take place in an efficient, sustainable and safe manner.
As part of the initiative, the first project steering committee meeting held virtually charted out a plan. The Marine Spatial Planning is part of the Indo-Norway Integrated Ocean Initiative under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in 2019.
The government wants to replicate Marine Spatial Planning to other coastal regions of the country. The World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have expressed interest in supporting India.
Marine Spatial planning is a process that brings together multiple users of the ocean such as government, humans industry, energy conservation and recreation for informed and coordinated decisions about how to use marine resources sustainably. It generally uses maps to create a comprehensive picture of a marine region. It identities regions where and how an ocean area is used and what natural resources and habitat exist.
According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, MSP is not an end in itself. It is a practical way for creating and establishing a rational use of marine area. It also stands for balancing development with the need to protect the environment and to deliver social and economic outcomes.
The main elements of MSP are interlinked system of policies, plans and regulations; and components of environmental management systems.
Ecological Benefits of MSP
- Identifying areas of biological or ecological importance
- Incorporation of biodiversity objectives
- Allocating space for biodiversity and nature conservation.
- Reducing cumulative impacts of human uses on marine ecosystems.
Economic Benefits of MSP:
- Creation of greater certainty to the private sector when it plans new investments
- Identification of compatible uses within the same area
- Reduction of conflicts among incompatible uses and between uses and nature;
- Promotion of the efficient use of resources and space.