We are set to work together for ensuing development of the Blue Economy in many dimensions
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) member states to build a unified sustainable blue economic belt in this subcontinent with the help of untapped resources of the sea.
She made the request while formally inaugurating the 3rd IORA Blue Economy Ministerial Conference at the Hotel InterContinental Dhaka on Thursday morning.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in association with IORA, organized the two-day conference.
“There are great opportunities to accelerate the sustainable development process of the respective countries from this region through Blue Economy approach by making the best use of the unused or untapped sea resources,” she said.
“We can tackle the challenges related to poverty, food insecurity, energy crisis and ecological imbalance, and create huge employment opportunity,” added the premier.
She said in pursuit of making the best outcome of a unified sustainable Blue Economy, there is no alternative to cooperation and coordination among the stakeholders.
“Therefore, I would urge all of you to build on a consensus agreement to achieve the Goal-14 of the SDGs of the UN through a sustainable management approach of the sea resources,” she said.
The premier also hoped that the Blue Economy is set to play pivotal role to contribute to the life of 9 billion people by 2050.
Pointing out that there is an intricate relation between peace, security and sustainable development, Sheikh Hasina said: “We have to keep it in mind that we cannot sacrifice the marine environment in pursuing economic growth.”
“We should simultaneously look Blue Economic Growth and think blue,” she further said.
The premier said a properly coordinated, profitable and overall a protective policy regarding marine issues, have to be adopted in order to achieve the goal.
Prime Minister Hasina said the oceans and seas are the potential and versatile resource frontiers for the mankind, which are still remained under-explored in most cases.
“Ocean-based industries, such as shipping, fisheries, energy and minerals, seaports, tourism, and marine biotechnology are contributing as key driving forces to the flourishing global economy,” she added.
Realizing the importance of the sea and its potential maritime resources, the prime minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman first adopted "The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974," to set the limit of the Maritime Zones of Bangladesh and extract sea resources.
She mentioned that her government formulated short, medium and long term “Plan of Actions” with a view to conserving, controlled harnessing, managing and development of fishes in the Bay of Bengal.
About the IORA, Sheikh Hasina also said the association has become a platform for cooperation in the areas of maritime safety and security, trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk management, science and technology cooperation, tourism and cultural exchanges, and blue economy.
She further hoped that this spirit of cooperation and momentum of collaboration among the IORA members will be augmented in the days to come.
In this connection, the premier said Bangladesh is set to take charges as the vice-chair from the next month for two years and the chair from October 1, 2021, for next two years of the IORA.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested the member countries of the IORA for extending all-out cooperation in discharging these challenging duties.
“We are set to work together for ensuing development and proliferation of the Blue Economy in many dimensions,” she concluded.