Bangladesh has immense potential in harnessing blue economy but still it remains in a nascent stage due to shortage of technical know-how, lack of policy support and fund constraints.
“We are still not in a good position to tap the blue economy for the country’s development. We have shortage of manpower in this sector. Even we don’t have sufficient institutions to teach oceanography,” Real Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam, secretary (maritime affairs unit), ministry of foreign affairs of Bangladesh said.At present the course is being offered in three public universities like Dhaka University, Chattogram university and Noakhali University.
He came up with the statement in reply to a query at a press conference on the concluding event of a two-day discussion on ‘Third Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Ministerial conference’ at InterContinental Hotel in the capital. Dr Nomvuyo N. Nokwe, secretary general of IORA was also present on the occasion.
He informed that the neighbouring India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar are far ahead of Bangladesh in harvesting the resources of the blue economy.
He said that Bangladesh has undertaken two projects like using spiriluna in manufacturing shampoo and soap locally and to exports globally. Secondly, the project would be on oyster culture. Both the projects would be financed by IORA.
In reply to a query Dr Nomvuyo N. Nokwe said that IORA is giving more importance on the peace-building in the Indian Ocean as it is much more important for harvesting the blue economy. “We want peace in this region of Indian Ocean. We don’t cater any aggression,” she added.
The two-day long IORA came up with Declaration with 17 principles in pursuit of promoting an inclusive Blue Economy through sustainable use of its opportunities for socio-economic development in the Indian Ocean Rim region.As per the Declaration, Blue economy requires a balanced approach between conservation and development and utilisation of marine and coastal eco-system, all oceanic resources and services with a view to enhancing their value and generating decent employment, securing productive marine economy and healthy marine eco-systems.
Blue economy recognizes that ocean economy is dependent on the health of coastal and marine ecosystem and IORA Member States need to consider the protection of these ecosystems.
IORA Member States recognise the Blue Economy as a mean to attain the sustainable development, taking into account advantages and strategies of managing the oceanic resources at regional and sub-regional levels.
IORA Member States need to consider ‘Marine Spatial Planning’ as a useful tool to carry out integrated and cross-sectoral planning at country level inter alia to develop marine value chains to meet demand for new and additional goals and services out of existing as well as emerging marine resources and industries.
IORA Member States will endeavor to priotise Blue Economy with adequate focus on well-being and livelihood of people through engagements among countries and stakeholders on Blue Economy.
IORA Member States will align their legal, regulatory, and institutional framework and ocean management policies with sustainable development of the Blue Economy.
IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners will attach higher importance in entering into equitable, mutually beneficial collaboration inter alia to generate scientific knowledge and evidence.
IORA Member States, with Dialogue Partners will promote partnership(s) among and between stakeholders.
Member States are encouraged to consider the potential risks while exploring marine resources and minerals, particularly in the High Seas and ocean-beds.
IORA Member States will acknowledge importance and contribution of key global processes with regard to governance, observation, and assessment of oceans and seas within the UN System.
In the wake of growing marine pollution and ocean acidification, IORA Member States will address consequent impacts by supporting the advancement of ocean science in these areas.
IORA Member States will endeavor to establish an economic database for Blue Economy constituent blocks. IORA Member States will prioritise engagement on various aspects of fisheries and aquaculture.