Speakers at a business meeting in Dhaka have sought a stronger role from the private sector to explore vast opportunities that the blue economy offers.
"I am hopeful that with your help and with your intention, we will be able to explore the vast opportunities that blue economy offers," Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral (Retd) Md Khurshed Alam said on Sunday.
Today or tomorrow Bangladesh will benefit by utilizing ocean resources, he said adding: "We are not sitting idle. We are waiting for a bit as we are doing a joint study with the European Union.".
He said the joint study began last year and hopes to get the outcome by middle or end of the year.
"The joint study team is looking into all aspects including identification of resources," he said.
Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) arranged the business luncheon meeting titled "Challenges of exploring the opportunities of Blue Economy in Bangladesh" at a city hotel.
Malaysian High Commissioner in Dhaka Nur Ashikin Mohd. Taib and BMCCI President Syed Moazzam Hossain, among others, spoke in the program.
The High Commissioner said the private sector should come forward and Bangladesh and Malaysia can work together to explore potentials of blue economy.
"We are looking into how better we can use sea resources," said the high commissioner.
She said blue economy has opened a new horizon for economic development of the coastal countries through utilizing sea and marine resources at national and international level.
The High Commissioner said private sector in Bangladesh is gradually getting involved in public-private partnerships in sensitive economic sector such as blue economy.
Estimates suggest some 30 million Bangladeshis directly depend on oceanic economic activities like fisheries and commercial transportation.
Coastal and Island countries have remained at the forefront of this blue economy advocacy, recognizing that the oceans have a major role to play in humanity's future.
Bangladesh, according to speakers, considers blue economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication as one of the important tools available for achieving sustainable development.
They emphasized that it should contribute to eradicating poverty as well as sustained economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare and creating opportunities for employment and decent work for all while maintaining the healthy functioning of the earth's ecosystem.