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Bay of Bengal partnership stressed for blue economy

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Staff Reporter
Bangladesh wants to work together and move ahead with a ‘Bay of Bengal partnership for Blue Economy’ to secure sustainable development among the coastal or littoral states ensuring an inclusive and people-centric blue economy.
“The blue economy must be inclusive and people-centric one,” said Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali while summing up the two-day international workshop on ‘Blue Economy’ in the city on Tuesday.
He said there needs to have collaboration in research, observation and surveillance; and in respect of sharing of analyses, outcomes and observations.
“And, such collaboration among countries must take place based on certain universal principles of engagement -- mutual trust, respect, mutual benefits and equitable sharing of benefits,” said the Foreign Minister.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) Rear Admiral (retd) M Khurshed Alam and Director General (Economic Affairs) Riaz Hamidullah also spoke at the closing session of the workshop held at Sonargaon Hotel.
Speaking as the chief guest, Mahmood Ali laid emphasis on space for further investment and exploration of marine resources overcoming the challenges lying ahead.
The Foreign Minister said there is a need for effective governance in terms of policy, strategy for overall maritime and related sectors.
“This relates to regulation; legislation; plans; also, institutional frameworks; capacity building - in academic, research institutions as well as regulatory bodies or mechanisms,” Mahmood Ali said.
Highlighting the private sector’s role, the Foreign Minister said Bangladesh is aware of varied levels of engagement across countries. “Yet, we need to observe and more importantly steer or create policy frameworks to attract critical private investment for Blue Economy.”
Mahmood Ali said development of adaptive technology, transfer of critical technology to developing littoral States is another common space.
“Finance, including innovative financing, securing Blue Growth, has to be facilitated -- not just left to market mechanisms,” he added.
The Foreign Minister also said creating robust ‘maritime domain awareness’ among people-at-large, communities, policymakers across legislature, executive is essential.
He also stressed the importance of assessment, observation and analysis of the profound yet unmeasured, uncertain impacts of climate change vis-a-vis oceans and seas, including the Bay of Bengal. “It’s also crucial.”
The Foreign Minister mentioned that generation of knowledge and data - horizontally and vertically is also crucial. “This has to be particularly relevant to the needs of coastal and island developing States.”
And, data will have to be relevant to the greater benefit of lives and livelihoods of larger population, he added.
Shahidul Haque spoke about the challenges lying ahead for Bangladesh, which include equitable and beneficial sharing of resources, governance both in terms of ownership and partnership and security issues.
The Foreign Minister commended the body of experts who joined the workshop and said the deep insights and observations and the diverse perspectives would surely not be beneficial for Bangladesh but also be beneficial for those who have gathered from all over the world.
Thirty-two representatives from 20 countries, including global experts on blue economy, attended the workshop and shared their experiences and ideas apart from the participation of experts from the host country.