Eight Years of Struggle: Blue Economy- Thank You Mr President for Your Encouraging Words

For the past eight years, we have passionately written and talked about the potential of the “Blue Economy” for Sri Lanka. Despite our efforts, we faced significant challenges in gaining the support needed from the government institutions. Officials often responded to our initiatives with indifference, appearing as if they were dumb and deaf to our calls for action. Their apathy has led some to label these officials as hypocrites, criticizing them for failing to embrace the transformative potential of the blue economy.Interestingly, these same officials who once ignored our pleas now lament the so-called “curse of 76 years ” and the missed opportunities it represents.

Yet, it’s worth noting that the concept of the blue economy was included in Your budget 2023 and 2024. There was mention of the Blue Green space,marine tourism and 30 by 30 agreement, which aimed to address climate change—a crucial component connected the blue economy.Had the government machinery shown real commitment to these areas, linking them together, we could have embarked on a significant journey towards sustainable development over the past two years.However, the lack of dedication has hindered progress. Today, it is a small victory to finally hear a Sri Lankan President , mention the term “Blue Rconomy” in a Prestigious summit in Indonesia .In contrast, Indonesia has made remarkable strides in planning its development around the blue economy, aiming to become one of the the world’s richest countries by 2050,according to the analysis of Price Water House Coopers.Their strategic focus was evident during the IORA Summit in 2018, highlighting how coastal nations are embracing and advancing with the blue economy. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka is trailing behind.

However, it is not too late to change course. If we begin now, integrating the transition to the blue economy and continuing the “digitization” efforts you have started, we can still achieve significant progress by 2048. Without these efforts, we risk stagnating and missing out on the vast potential that the blue economy holds.

Recent reports indicate that a dedicated unit will be established to analyze ocean resources, a crucial step forward. The first task must be to thoroughly evaluate our marine resources, determining how to add value and maximize dollar income for Sri Lanka. Dividing shares and handing over piecemeal to foreign parties will not yield the full benefits; a comprehensive strategy is essential.Securing foreign aid for this research analysis is a commendable achievement.

To those who once laughed at our advocacy for writing letters to many government institutions on blue economy , we extend our thanks. Their skepticism only fueled our determination to push forward. Now, as the blue economy finally garners the attention it deserves, we stand ready to support and guide its development for the betterment of Sri Lanka.

Ayesh Indranath Ranawaka
Executive Director INORA

ocean 1 st by oceanlust

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