2023: The Year that our Planet’s Environmental Signals Played Loud and Clear


The year 2023 saw quite a few global science policy alerts. The first was the UN Water Conference in New York, held decades after the first one in 1977in Argentina when, ironically, it was under a military dictatorship. At the conference, the Global Commission on the Economics of Water (GCEW) defined water as a global and local (“glocal”) common good and warned about impending, critical, multi-dimensional water crises such as the breaching of the planetary boundaries of the water cycle and water injustice to humans as well as ecosystems. GCEW asked for renewed governance and economic thinking on water management at all scales.

The other global issue that came to our attention was the presence of invasive species in ecosystems. Invasive species are non-native species that have been introduced to an ecosystem and have particular characteristics compared to other exotic species. They can displace native species, prolife rate and establish themselves, and cause ecological damage, which translates to economic losses of $423 billion globally as per a report released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In the Indian context, the interest in the economics, livelihood dimensions, and ecology of the management of invasive species and native fish in Indian waters is gaining ground.