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Friday, February 27, 2015, Falgun 15, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 7, 1436 Hijr

Tapping 'Blue Economy'
Collaboration with private sector planned
Diplomatic Correspondent
Published : Friday, 27 February, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 54

Tapping 'Blue Economy'
The government has finalised the issue of seeking private sector collaboration to tap the 'blue economy' resources in the Bay of Bengal.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam at a seminar on Thursday called for private role in a 'blue economy', which the government is pursuing for sustainable growth.
At the seminar on Marine Resources Management of Bangladesh in the Context of Newly Demarcated Boundary held at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) two papers were presented by Maritime Affairs Unit Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral Khorshed Alam, and Prof Kawser Ahmed of Oceanography Department of Dhaka University.
The policy was adopted following the settlement of the maritime boundary disputes with India and Myanmar. Bangladesh has established sovereign rights over more than 118,000 sq km of maritime territory through international court verdicts in the past couple of years.
The speakers said the delimitation of the maritime boundary has raised hopes of extracting "plenty of resources" from the Bay of Bengal, which Bangladesh considers to be its "third neighbour".
The government had earlier sought regional and global partnerships for tapping the resources, realising the lack of indigenous skills and technology.
Alam lamented that the lack of skilled human resources, institutions and technology poses "key challenge" to Bangladesh in "effectively" utilising marine resources.
He said the objective of the blue economy initiative was to promote "smart, sustainable growth and employment opportunities" in Bangladesh's maritime economic activities in the "short, medium and long timeframes".
"The extensive review and analysis of 'blue growth' potential has confirmed the potential of the blue economy as an untapped resource," he said.
"The Bay of Bengal could determine Bangladesh's future development and economic growth through expansion of International trade, use of marine mineral resources for long term energy security, proper management of marine fish resources and protection of bio-diversity, and marine environment".
But presently "there is a dearth of modern technology, finance and logistical backup to further expand and enhance our common sectors like fisheries, tourism, maritime transport, and ship building and ship recycling".
He said the government would shoulder the "primary responsibility" in the sustainable management of marine resources, "but the private sector would continue to play a key role in the blue growth across a range of sectors".
The government would play the role of a facilitator, laying out policies, strategies and modalities of collaboration and engagements, he said.
"We also appreciate and support regional and sub-regional initiatives for marine resource management as well," he said.
"We believe a 'safe and secure ocean' is a prerequisite for economic development and sustainable marine resource management is one of the key elements for that development".

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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