The Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBoBS) of Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) of Japan jointly organized an international conference on sustainable blue economy on 27-28 November 2022 at IUB. The conference was titled "Ensuring a Sustainable Blue Economy in an open and interconnected Indo-Pacific Region: Japan-Bangladesh cooperation in Synergizing latent potentials among South & Southeast Asian Bay of Bengal Littoral and Adjacent Countries."
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. A K Abdul Momen, MP, who joined the program virtually on the opening day, said, "Bangladesh aspires to become a developed country by 2040 and Japan has been consistently contributing through significant investments in the Bay of Bengal."
Referring to some of CBoBS's flagship research work such as risk assessment of the Chittagong city using the CORVI index, IUB Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Niaz Ahmed Khan, Ph.D, who chaired the opening session, said, "The importance of understanding the blue economy, especially within the broader context, exploring our very own Bay of Bengal is becoming more and more clear to us. Research and exploration have to complement the political rhetoric that we have on Bay of Bengal."
Praising Bangladesh for making blue economy a national priority, Special Guest Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, said, "Strong collaboration is needed between the two nations [Bangladesh and Japan] for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific."
The two-day conference comprised thematic sessions and panel discussions on a variety of issues such as the role of MIDI and BIG-B in creating a sustainable blue economy; sub-regional connectivity in the South Asian Bay of Bengal littoral and adjacent countries; Japan-Bangladesh Partnership in Ensuring Sustainable Development in the Eco-fragile Bay of Bengal and Beyond. During the conference, several papers were presented by Dr. Atsushi Watanabe, Senior Research Fellow; Dr. Emadul Islam, Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF, Japan; Dr. Anwar Hossain, Associate Professor, Department of Fisheries, University of Dhaka; and Dr. Sajid Hussain, CEng CMarEng FIMarEST, Commandant, Bangladesh Marine Academy and IMO (UN).
Dr. Shamsul Alam, State Minister for Planning of Bangladesh; Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Ambassador Mashfee Binte Shams, Secretary (East), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue; Professor Imtiaz Ahmed from the Department of International Relation, University of Dhaka; Dr. Zaidi Sattar, Chairman, Policy Research Institute (PRI); Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, former principal secretary and coordinator of SDGs at the Prime Minister's Office; and Mr. Tomohide Ichiguchi, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh; and Ambassador (retd.) Tariq Karim, Director CBoBS, IUB, spoke in the different sessions over the two days.