Naji, The Himalayan Times, May 02, 2019
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a $5-billion action plan to improve ocean health and promote marine economy in Asia and the Pacific.
The Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies for the Asia and the Pacific will focus on four areas: Creating inclusive livelihoods and business opportunities in sustainable tourism and fisheries; protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems and key rivers; reducing landbased sources of marine pollution, including plastics, wastewater, and agricultural runoff; and improving sustainability in port and coastal infrastructure development.
The action plan will support the efforts of ADB’s developing member countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 14 Life Below Water. Under the plan, financing and technical assistance of $5 billion will be provided from 2019 to 2024.
“The prosperity of our region depends on healthy oceans and sustainable development,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao during 52nd Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors in Fiji.
“We must work towards a more resilient future, where humanity and oceans thrive together.”
Asia and the Pacific are at epicentre of a major crisis in marine plastic pollution, threatening productivity of region’s marine economies, which are crucial to poverty reduction, as per ADB.
For example, among 10 rivers transporting 88 per cent to 95 per cent of plastics into the sea worldwide, eight are in region.
Ocean ecosystems have been pushed to the brink of collapse by the threats of climate change, pollution, and illegal and unregulated fishing, among others.
Unless immediate action is taken, about 90 per cent of Asia and the Pacific’s coral reefs will be dead by 2050, and all commercially exploitable fish stocks will disappear by then, says the ADB.
“This will significantly threaten food security, global economy, and livelihoods, especially among poor and vulnerable communities in the region.”