Speakers at a seminar on Saturday urged the government to develop an appropriate and pro-poor policy to realise the untapped resources in the Bay of Bengal in context of poverty reduction and achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goal), reports UNB.
They also demanded to ensure access of coastal fishermen in the Bay of Bengal fishing strategies whichisgoing to be planned by the government.The seminar titled “Blue Economy of Bangladesh: Context Poverty Reduction and SDGs” organised by COAST Trust was held at CIRDAP auditorium in the city where Md KM Abdus Salam, director general of NGO Affairs Bureau, was present as the chief guest while Economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF, chaired it.
Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Trust, the seminar was addressed, among others, by Prof Dr Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury of Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries of Chittagong University, Dr AKM Aminul Hoque, director of Marine of thedepartmentof Fisheries and PankajHazaarika, director of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectorial Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) spoke as experts.
Three keynote papers were jointly presented by Prof Dr Lailufar Yasmin of International Relation department of Dhaka University, Prof Dr Md Moshiur Rahman of Fisheries and Marine Resource Technology discipline of Khulna University and Salehin Sarfaraz, Coordinator of Partnership and Advocacy of COAST Trust.
In his address, Md KM Abdus Salam said the coastal fishermen should be saved from the high interest of loan if we want to develop their livelihood. “NGOs should come forward to work on these issues,” he said.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, “We are revising our Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan where the Blue Economy issues will be addressed.”
He emphasized on setting priorities for Blue Economy activities with required pro-poor infrastructure development and institutional capacity building.The PKSF Chairman suggested for making open all sort water bodies for the benefit of genuine fishermen communities.
Pankaj Hazaarika said Bangladesh can take lead effective cooperation among the BIMSTEC member countries in view to implement Blue Economy issues.
Dr Sayedur Rahaman said that the government has taken policy but there is considerable gap exists between policy assumption and real base data. “These need to be removed and also need to prepare a special plan connecting policy and information,” he added.
He expressed concern over the declining trend of fish in the Bay of Bengal and demanded to make a plan for alternative livelihood for the coastal fishermen.
Dr Aminul Hoque said that perspective and concern are both in the Blue Economy strategy because of its multi-stakeholder engagement.
He suggested for taking initiative for cage aquaculture in estuaries of the Bay of Bengal during the ban period of Hilsha for benefiting the coastal fishermen communities.
In their keynote papers, the three presenters have addressed two important issues—foreign policy and government’s poverty reduction approach through Blue Economy—and put their recommendations, included government should emphasize on coastal poverty dimensions where fishermen are major part of the poverty as well as to ensure access of these fishermen in the Bay of Bengal fishing sphere by developing an appropriate policy and action plan.