Context: Marine conservation has taken center stage globally, with a growing commitment to protecting our oceans and marine life. In this article, we’ll delve into the 30X30 target, where 196 countries, including India, have pledged to conserve 30% of the Earth’s land and sea areas. We’ll explore the key components of this initiative, India’s role, and the benefits of Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) over traditional Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Understanding the 30X30 Target:
1. The 30X30 Goal:
– The 30X30 target aims to conserve 30% of the Earth’s land and sea areas.
– This conservation goal involves the establishment of protected areas (PAs) and Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs).
2. Tools for Achieving the Goal:
– Two primary tools contribute to achieving the 30X30 target:
a. Designating areas as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
b. Implementing Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs).
3. Annual Conservation Requirements:
– To meet the 30% target, roughly 10 million square kilometers of oceans need to be annually designated as protected areas over the next seven years.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs):
– MPAs are government-owned areas focused on long-term in-situ conservation through the no human hinderance.
– They also provide natural solutions to support climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs):
Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) are a new conservation approach, separate from protected areas, where conservation is achieved mainly as a by-product of other management.
Effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas.
Governments, relevant organizations, Indigenous peoples and local communities are invited to apply the voluntary guidance on OECMs
1. Marine Protected Areas in India:
– India boasts 31 major Marine Protected Areas, covering coastal regions designated under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
–The Wild Life Protection Act of India (1972) provides legal protection to many marine animals.
2. OECM Implementation:
– India is actively pursuing OECMs to reach the 30% target, with 14 potential OECM sites identified by the National Biodiversity Authority of India.
– India has already conserved around 27% of its geographic area, with 22% terrestrial coverage and 5% coastal and marine coverage.
– Notable examples include the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, Sundarbans National Park, Gulf of Kachchh National Park, and more.
Benefits of OECMs over MPAs:
1. Human Population Consideration:
– OECMs are a more suitable tool for India, given its large human population.
– Unlike MPAs, OECMs do not severely restrict human activities and, therefore, have a lesser negative impact on the livelihoods of land and coastal communities.
2. Role of Non-Governmental organizations:
– Non-Governmental organizations play a crucial role in ensuring that countries use OECMs responsibly and do not exploit them solely to expand protected areas to meet the 30% target.
India’s commitment to the 30X30 target showcases its dedication to marine conservation. As the nation continues to explore OECMs alongside traditional MPAs, it strikes a balance between conservation and the well-being of its coastal communities. This journey toward a sustainable marine future is a testament to India’s role in preserving our oceans for generations to come.
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