National and International Status

 

The ocean, marine ecosystems and environment were considered and managed in a sectoral way.   There were traditional management scheme for each sector.   There were separate methods for each ocean, different regimes of ocean and fresh water regimes.  The fisheries management did not consider other marine uses.  The use of ecosystem and fresh water discharge to the coastal waters are managed with different processes.  The use of oceans under national jurdiction did not relate to uses of ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction.  The poverty alleviation was not linked to a healthy marine environment.    Whereas the impacts of climate change threaten to alter the marine environment at an extreme different entity and scale.  It is affecting all issues, sectors and peoples of the world, an imperative for integrated and sustainable marine management.   The impact of climate change had conceptualized and recognized that all oceanic and atmospheric problems are linked and must be considered as a whole system.

 

There are attempts in developed countries to integrate climate change information into development and adaptation efforts.   During the year 2007,  USAID had published a guidance manual for Development Planning to assist with the integration of climate information into development efforts.  This is a prime tool to assist planners and stakeholders in adapting to the changing climate.  These basic processes are essential for assessing vulnerability and identifying and implementing climate change adaptations.

 

The UNDP Human Development Report, 2007-08 reveals that developing nations near the equator will be much vulnerable to sea level rise. Sea level rise will be a pressing issue to countries in Asia.  Based on the above analysis, areas in India are more susceptible to sea level rise.  It is a fact that there is a very high concentration of population living in close proximity to the coast.  India is having more than 6000 km of coastline.  India has one thousand one hundred and seventy five (1175) islands and islets, six hundred sixty seven (667) in the bay of Bengal including Andaman and Nicobar Islands and five hundred and eight (508) in the Lakshadweep sea including Lakshadweep islands. The Lakshadweep islands are regarded as atoll formation of coral islands. It consists of 36 islands. The largest island has an area of 4.8 sq. km and the smallest is with an area of 0.1 sq. km.

It is inferred that there will be increased coastal erosion, inundations, persistent storm events, shifts in wetlands, incursion of saline water into fresh water aquifers, migrations of coral reefs, mangroves, tidal flats, in the coastal environs of India. There are a few studies related to the impact of sea level rise on the fresh water aquifer of a few atolls of Lakshadweep islands.  The impact of Sea Level Rise (SLR) for a scenario of 20 cm had been predicted for the islands. It is estimated that 11.6% of fresh water of Kavarathi atoll will be contaminated due to 20 cm SLR. It had been estimated that 50 cm SLR would contaminate 5.99% of the existing freshwater aquifer system of Bengaram atoll. There are many initiatives to study the climate change and the impact of sea level rise on the coastal environment of India.  However, there is no attempt to assimilate credible climate information in contexts that are useful and usable to local decision makers.  It is also a fact that the climate change will adversely affect the many small islands and islets of the country.   There is no clear and understandable information on these islands and islets upon which to base local adaptation decisions.