Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said that the healthy environment of the sea must be maintained while achieving economic growth through a blue economy.
The premier made the remarks while inaugurating the 3rd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Ministerial Conference (BEC-III) at InterContinental, Dhaka in the morning.
The Prime Minister said, “peace, security, and sustainable development are interconnected. Therefore, we should keep in mind that we should not pollute the healthy environment of the sea to achieve economic growth.”
She urged the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) member states to build a unified sustainable blue economic belt in this region by making best use of the untapped resources of the sea.
"There are great opportunities to accelerate the sustainable development process of the respective countries of the region through blue economy approach making best use of the unused or untapped resources of the sea," she said.
She said to get the benefits from a sustainable blue economy, there is no alternative of cooperation and assistance.
"We can tackle the challenges of poverty, food insecurity, energy crisis, and ecological imbalances and create huge employment opportunity," she added.
She said the Blue Economy would play a pivotal role to contribute to the life of 9 billion people by 2050.
Realising 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" for the development of fishes in the Bay of Bengal.
In the two-day conference, the member states of IORA will discuss ways to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities in the Indian Ocean belt.
A relatively new term globally, the blue economy has been in talks in Bangladesh since the settlement of maritime disputes with Myanmar and India that widened Bangladesh’s access to the waters of the Bay of Bengal.
A 25-member high-powered committee was formed to prepare a comprehensive plan on the blue economy.
The blue economy is one of the priority sectors of the government and it has taken a $240 million project, with financing from the World Bank, for sustainable development of coastal and marine fisheries.