'Maritime resources are currently under threat of pollution in various ways. Cargo, huge ships, Internet cables and plastic items are responsible for the pollution which affect people too'
Speakers at an international seminar-2018 have called for united efforts and appropriate utilization of maritime resources for the economic development ofa country.
“Neighbouring countrie sof South Asian region should come forward and work together emphasizing on maritime resources and appropriately utilizing them so that the economy can grow,” speakers said.
Experts on maritime resources from different countries made the call at the semina rtitled “Maritime Good Governance towards Sustainable Development.”
Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development (BIMRAD) organized the seminar at Radisson Blu Hotel in Dhaka on Monday.
Farooq Sobhan, president and CEO Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) moderated the first session while Prof Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, teacher, Dhaka UniversityInternational Relations Department moderated the second session.
There is no alternative for world economy toflourish other than the proper use of maritime resources. Oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface and contain 97% planet’s water and are the life support system for Earth. Saving maritime resources is extremely necessary for the sake of the people of the world, they said.
“Maritime resources are currently under threat of pollution in various ways. Cargo, huge ships, Internet cables and plastic items are responsible for the pollution which affect people too” they added.
Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Security Adviser to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said after independence, even before the promulgation of UNCLOS-III in 1982, Bangabandhu enacted the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act 1974. In the recent past, under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the country has successfully demarcated her maritime boundaries and obtained maritime territory of 1,18,813 square kilometres.
“This has unfolded new opportunities for optimum utilization of the sea and its huge living and non- living resources for sustainable development of Bangladesh and concerned littoral states. Presently, the government has undertaken a challenge to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041,” he said.
To achieve SDGs and materialize the vision, there is no alternative but to focus on “Blue Economy”. Therefore littoral countries should prepare a master plan encompassing the potentials of the entire coastal belt. We need a combination of political leadership, efficient bureaucracy, regional co-operation, partnership, collaborative approaches and entrepreneurial spirit to materialize the plan.
“If we can do this, only then we can derive maximum benefit from the Blue Economy and transform the country into prosperous one through sustainable growth. It will also identify the potential areas of sea resources, optimum exploration, conservation, pollution control and commendable ways to face the likely challenges towards sustainable development of the region,” he also added.
Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed, Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy and Chief Patron of BIMRAD said the Institute has undertaken an arduous effort to arrange this maiden international seminar to create general awareness among people of the growing importance of maritime governance and its substantial contribution towards socio- economic prospects of the nation.
“The Indian Ocean carries huge prospects and potential both from geo-strategic and geo-economic points of view to facilitate maritime trade and commerce, food, minerals, energy, shipbuilding, biodiversity, communications, tourism, bio-medicine and many more, he further said.
Every coastal nation is endeavoring relentlessly to benefit from both economic and ecological perspectives by ensuring optimum utilization of these resources. To maintain good governance of this vast region, littoral nations need to work together, maintaining good relationships with a wide range of co-operation, collaboration, understanding and partnership to utilize the utmostpotential of the available resources for the greater benefit of humankind, he added.
Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage, former Chief of Sri Lanka Navy and Director of the Indo-Lanka initiatives and Law of the Sea Pathfinder Foundation, emphasized various issues on ‘maritime good governance and sustainable development goals’. Blue economy by Bangladesh and policy by India are positive for maritime resources.
“We have to research and take good initiatives on the resources for economic growth. So infrastructure development and technical issues must be improved in the regions. Sri Lanka will take part in any cooperative dialogue in this regard,” Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed said.
Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam explained the effective exploration and exploitation of maritime resources while Captain of US Navy (retd) Richard Francis Sears spoke on Maritime Security and Good Governance in the Indian Ocean.
Head of the Centre for Coastal and Marine Environment, Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) Cheryl Rita Kaur spoke on maritime pollution control and governance challenges while Admiral RK Dhowan Chairman of the National Maritime Foundation and former chief of the Naval Staff of Indian Navy spoke on role of law enforcing agencies in maintaining good governance at sea.