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Moving from green economy to the blue economy

Green Economy

Today Pakistan is facing numerous environmental problems such as global warming, ozone depletion, crowded cities and pollution. The universal solution in general and Pakistan in particular, has no other option but to address these problems by planting more and more trees and making the nation greener and eco-friendly. A growing trend in business is the emphasis on sustainable ‘green’ business practices. Going ‘green’ means many things to different individuals as well as to different business enterprises. On one hand, it could mean reducing energy use or supporting the use of alternative energy sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. On the other hand, it could include cutting operating costs, enhancing employee health and productivity, enhancing business reputation or reducing the risk of running afoul of environmental regulations.

The government, through collaboration with universities, should encourage and support research projects related to renewable and alternative sources of energy and introduce technology competitions. Entrepreneurs should also establish innovative businesses that tap into the rising demand for electricity. Moreover, the government needs to introduce tax rebates and custom incentives for people investing in such environment-friendly green stations. In addition to awareness programs, governments and businesses will need to come up with financial incentives to attract people to travel the road of sustainability.

Blue Economy

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.

 

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. 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 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.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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