The visit included meetings with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Environment agency in Oslo, where discussion topics centered on ocean management in Norwegian foreign policy and Norwegian marine spatial planning. The Indian representatives also met with colleagues from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and the Environment and the Institute of Marine research.
The Indian delegation headed by Dr. Sumitra Misra, Joint Secretary at the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, and representing NITI Aayog, were eager to hear about successful Norwegian experiences in integrated ocean management and support for green initiatives in maritime industries - the “Blue Economy”. As India’s maritime economy grows, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that economic activities do not degrade the environment. Norway offers several examples of successful policies for sustainable maritime development that can be adapted to Indian conditions.
Norway is a world leader in integrated ocean management due to its close cultural and economic relationship with the sea. Norwegian waters are managed through Integrated Management Plans, which seek to balance the economic utilization with environmental conservation. The development of these plans emphasizes a fact-based consensus approach involving policy makers, researchers, private enterprise and other societal stakeholders. Recently, Norwegian authorities also launched a Green Growth Strategy aiming to increase sustainability in maritime industries such as shipping.
The recent visit demonstrates the growing ties between India and Norway. In the Norwegian strategy for cooperation with India, the oceans is one of five main pillars underpinning bilateral relations. Climate change, fisheries depletion, maritime pollution and ocean litter are examples of challenges both countries face. They are also examples of areas where there is great scope for cooperation.