Mannan for tapping blue economy potentials

Planning Minister M A Mannan urged experts to come forward with innovative ideas to tap the potentials of blue economy in an efficient way to contribute to the economy of the country. “The Bay of Bengal has enormous resources and we need extensive survey and research to ensure sustainable development through proper utilization of the potentials of the sea and marine resources,” he said.

The minister came up with the call while addressing a seminar on ‘Sustainable Blue Economy for the Development of Bangladesh’ held at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban at Dhaka University (DU) on Wednesday. DU Oceanography Department, Blue Economy Cell of the Government, Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development (BIMRAD) and GreenTech jointly organized this conference.

Chairman of the Oceanography Department Jobaer Alam delivered the address of welcome and Executive Director and CEO of GreenTech Foundation, Bangladesh Lutfor Rahman gave the vote of thanks. Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman chaired the function while Professor of Department of Oceanography of Dhaka University Dr Md Kawser Ahmed made the keynote presentation.

M A Mannan said the country in the past used to always look to west for economic growth. But it has backtracked from that view and started looking at the south as the Bay of Bengal unveiled a new horizon from where country can achieve huge development. “We are blessed with enormous potential of blue economy. But it is very unfortunate to all of us that we are failing to extract resources as we don’t have sufficient research on marine science,” he said.

M A Mannan further said, “We will have to do research for theoretical knowledge and go to the sea for practical knowledge. Our economy is expanding in air, sea, and land. We made satellite, Padma Bridge, and are going forward to achieve our sustainable developed economy.” The minister also assured of forming a ministry or department or commission for the sea resources, saying “we are looking forward to doing something like this”.

The planning minister said after winning the vast marine areas in the Bay of Bengal through the maritime boundary verdicts against India and Myanmar, the knowledge on Oceanography and blue economy among the scholars and concerned stakeholders is increasing day by day. Mentioning that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always advocates for necessary allocation for conducting time-befitting researches and studies, Mannan suggested the department high-ups to give attention to necessary researches as well as coming up with practical project proposals to well-equip this department considering the untapped blue economy of the country, reports BSS.

Listing the various development activities of the Awami League government over the last 10 years in the land, the water and the space, Mannan said a plan is also there to unleash massive development works in the coming years, including constructing another tunnel beneath the river Jamuna and a feasibility study is being carried out in this regard.
In his speech, DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman emphasised undertaking collaborative survey and research activities to explore seabed resources for achieving sustainable blue economy in Bangladesh.

He called upon students, researchers and academicians of DU Oceanography Department to work together with Bangladesh Navy in this regard. He also stressed the need for framing ‘Ocean Policy’. Kawser Ahmed, Professor of Dhaka University Oceanography department, said, “Our government is stressing this sector for the sake of gaining sustainable development goal (SDG) by 2030”.

Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, MP, State Minister, Ministry of Shipping and Md. Asraf Ali Khan Khasru, MP, State Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock also attended two separate sessions of the conference. Hundreds of students, teachers, academicians, researchers and professionals from home and abroad took part in the conference. At the end of the programme, the planning minister and other guests unveiled the cover of a book titled ‘Blue Economy: Prospects and Challenges of Marine Renewable Energy of Bangladesh”.