Diploma in Strategy and Innovation
Classes at Oxford can often leave a mark. In spite of not being fully certified to do so and in spite of hurting myself and the other associated with me with possibly irreparable ideological damage, we have started incorporating the Oxford Vantage Frameworks, the feared TMO into the way we envisage our engagement with the Oceans and Life Under (and possibly, above) Water.
We were in Kuwait and it was the heat of May. We needed a release and it was IOC-INDIO which itself wanted a revitalization of its mandate and of its presence by being relevant to the operational priorities it aimed to address. For those who would not have had the privilege of knowing what IOCINDIO stands for, it is the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s (IOC) Regional Committee for the Central Indian Ocean Responsible for the coordination and supervision of the scientific and service activities of the IOC in the Central Indian Ocean. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), established in 1960 as a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO, is the only competent organization for marine science within the UN system. The purpose of the Commission is to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programmes in research, services and capacity-building, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decision-making processes of its Member States. IOC’s work in ocean observation and science contributes to building the knowledge base of the science of climate change. IOC also coordinates and fosters the establishment of regional intergovernmental coordinating tsunami warning and mitigation systems in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in the North East Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean seas. In this case, IOC’s regional body for the Indian Ocean was re-activated after a hiatus of almost a decade in 2016 after India and Kuwait joined forces to revitalize the process and the platform rolled into a momentum with its sixth session in Kuwait in May, 2017.
Usually, IOC’s sessions are cutting edge ocean science. Discussants, as are participants, are mostly scientific people with a serious bent on science and science alone. But this time, we tried to add a measure of elixir to the process by bringing in a pinch of business. After all, unless the clientele is not engaged in a meaningful, reinforced, two-way communication process, efforts in the multilateral platforms often fail to take root. On 21st May our story commenced and we took a ‘Blue Economy’ project – a first of its kind for a strictly science-oriented organization such as the IOC.
The project is composite in nature and suggests ways and means to collect, collate and evaluate information for creating sustainable business opportunities in the context of climate change adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction. The aim is to promote sustainable ocean/marine-based economies, through the development of Blue Economy activities that create wealth for coastal population and contribute to the conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems. The idea is to create and showcase comparatively small projects which the communities can partake and claim as their own – so that greater and transcendental components of climate change adaptations could be infused.
For the interested readers, Mangroves are critical ecosystems for the protection and sustenance of coastal zones and in addition to being home to some of the unique species of tigers (Royal Bengal Tiger), deer (Chitra/spotted), crocodiles, alligators, tortoise, etc, they are important sources for food, medicine and natural components for mitigating and adapting to the rising sea-level challenges. We target creating commercially viable enterprises, Honey to begin with, so that the local communities and larger brands become interested and associated with the mangroves and it becomes incumbent on their lives and livelihoods to protect, preserve, manage and nurture the mangrove ecosystems. This part of the project can become economically sustainable and can draw in superior brand equity for the uniqueness and richness associated with the mangroves honey (as a starter). This is also expected to stop illegal poaching and land-grabbing and measures which destabilize, if not destroy, the mangroves ecosystems. Being a common heritage for contiguous countries, such as, India and Bangladesh, this part of the project in the long run can also be important as a CBM measure for the national governments. Participation of women and underprivileged sections of the communities are integral parts of the project. The Project components are related to several cross-cutting areas – such as knowledge, learning, sustainable management of ecosystems, preservation of biodiversity, life under water and livelihoods support. Goals 1,3, 5, 8, 11, 13, and 14 are intricately interlinked with the processes deployed with the project.
The IOC has accepted the proposal for undertaking the project at its assembly in Paris. Currently, we are looking for funding and operations partners. Most importantly, looked at from a different angle, the ideation of the project in the thematic framework of technology, markets and organizations have encapsulated the common threads of economy and ecology across some of the most complex political theatres of the world, i.e., the Middle-East and South Asia. T-M-O is not only a lucrative business solution provider – it also has a solid point of reference to building confidence and clienteles across vastly different geo—politico-ethnographic profiles – may be, who knows, possibly building roads towards sustainable peace and inclusive prosperity ! Who knows ! But at least I thought I should make a report to Saïd that TMO works in more ways than one!
TMO: Technology – Markets – Organisation
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals
The following distinguished scientists are acknowledged for their contribution in writing this brief note.
Name and Organisation
Dr. Magdy Alwany Marine Biodiversity, KISR
Dr. Faiza Al-Yamani Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, KISR, Kuwait
Dr. Pierre Failler University of Portsmouth
Mr. Adnan Alalawi Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, KISR, Kuwait
Dr. M. A. Atmanand Chair, IOCINDIO, NIOT, India
Dr. Larry Hildebrand World Maritime University , Sweden
Dr. Ajith Gunaratne NARA, Sri Lanka