Wealth of opportunities – Time to invest in Blue Economy
Bahria University Karachi runs a Nationwide Campaign to create awareness about Blue Economy and try to enlighten the potential of this sector through different sessions at various platforms and dreams for the sustainable and prosperous Pakistan.
The Blue Economy is regarded as the decoupling of socio-economic activities and development from environmental degradation and optimizing the benefits which may be derived from marine resources. The attitude of achieving long-term prosperity by a country or a region befitting the well being of all citizens and the mankind preserving the environment, especially the sea is the basis of the Blue Economy.
Blue Economy means the use of sea and the use of its resources for sustainable economic development. This concept is new to Pakistan and south East Asian countries economies but fits into the sustainable development framework while balancing its economic, social and environmental benefits and contributes in GDP.
Bahria University Karachi aims to generate thoughts and actions towards investigating various opportunities, ways of cashing the benefits as well as identifying challenges and ways of overcoming them also to raise awareness on the blue economy. Pakistan as well the South Asia have potentials to follow the Blue Economy Concept however it requires strong political willingness and commitments.
Pakistan is an important maritime state in the Indian Ocean blessed with approximately 1,050 km long coastline and the Exclusive Economic Zone covering about 240,000 sq. km.These maritime spaces offer myriad of prospects for Pakistan to exploit ocean-based living and non-living resources, provide much needed economic opportunities, and generate employment for the well-being of the people. The maritime sector acts as the bedrock of the national economy.
Development of effective national compliance mechanism and stimulating renewal of potential of maritime sectors through regional and international collaboration can usher the country into an era of significant growth. The efficiency of Pakistani ports should be enhanced by improving the network of infrastructure.Blue economy still can be viewed as a nascent concept. Gunter Pauli was the first to coin the idea of a Blue Economy in 2010. In 2012, during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), it was agreed by the participating countries to advance the concept of Green Economy for ‘sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Figure : Comparison of GDP per capita for South Asian Countries (Source: World Bank Figure : Comparison of Aquaculture and Fishing in South Asian countries. Shipping is the cheapest mode of transport, which carries 80% of the global merchandise trade.
Figure : Comparison of Liner Shipping Index
Pakistan may confront a number of challenges while building upon its Blue Economy potential. However, Pakistan should embark upon boosting its economy while focusing on maritime infrastructure, technology for offshore resource development, a strong fishery industry, and marine leisure sector. All the required financial and technological support should be geared up for building, operating, and making economically profitable industries.
These are compelling reasons for Pakistan to endorse and internalize the concept of a Blue Economy in policy, bilateral relations as well as international transactions. Institutions like Bahria University should be established to work on blue economy that may guide Pakistan to harness the potential and engage itself in the sustainable development of living and non-living resources of the seas to advance economic growth and enhance human security. This can be supplemented by a successful regional seas program for ocean governance, management and awareness programs regarding the subject.
Author: Urooj Aijaz (Secretary Corporate Advisory Committee)
Faculty Member H&SS Department, Bahria University Karachi Campus.
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