Time has come for Bangladesh to formulate an ocean policy which will ensure proper co-ordination among all concerned agencies including private sectors, civil society etc. and also guide us for establishing regional collaboration on ocean affairs.” said Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh while delivering his Statement as the Chief Guest of the Blue Economy National Co-ordination Workshop held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka on 30 June 2018. The Workshop organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh was attended by as many as 100 high Government officials and prominent experts on ocean affairs from different corners of Bangladesh including the Shipping Secretary of Bangladesh Mr. Md. Abdus Samad, Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral Md. Khurshed Alam and Mr. Mario Ronconi, Charge d’ Affairs, a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh among others.
The Foreign Secretary has defined the ocean as the new frontier of Bangladesh’s Foreign Policy. He mentioned that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -1982 which is the constitution of the law of the sea has been so far playing a key role to ensure ocean governance across the globe and following that the SDG-14 has emerged as a new tool for further ensuring ocean governance and sustainable use of ocean resources.
Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral Md. Khurshed Alam emphasized on expansion of Blue Economy activities in Bangladesh. He informed that the workshop is being held in continuation of the first International workshop on blue economy of September 2014 and the 2nd International Dialogue on blue economy of November 2017. He aspired that the outcome of the co-ordination workshop would play a vital role in determining the level of progress Bangladesh has achieved in terms of all the 26 potential blue economy sectors previously identified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Mario Ronconi, Charge d’ Affairs, a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh has informed the presence that the European Union will continue to work for the development of the particular areas where there are still scope for further development and innovation. He emphasized on utilization of ocean resources ensuring its sustainable use and preservation. He also ensured that the EU will offer more scholarships on Masters and PhD Programs for the students/experts of this region.
The other experts of the workshop opined to categorize the potential areas where immediate action is required and the other areas where further research or innovation is required. Among the 26 sectors, fisheries development, mariculture, blue biotechnology, shipping and ports, marine spatial planning, cruise shipping etc. have been identified as potential sectors for Blue Economy development in Bangladesh.
In conclusion, all the experts emphasized on formulating a national framework for Blue Economy and stressed on establishing a proper co-ordination mechanism among all the stakeholders.