Speakers at a seminar yesterday urged the government to develop an appropriate and pro-poor policy to realise the untapped resources in the Bay of Bengal with the aim of reducing poverty and achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goal).
The seminar, titled “Blue Economy of Bangladesh: Context Poverty Reduction and SDGs”, organised by COAST Trust was held at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka where Md KM Abdus Salam, director general of NGO Affairs Bureau, was present as the chief guest. Economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of PKSF, chaired the event.
Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of COAST Trust, the seminar was addressed, among others, by Prof Dr Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury of Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries of Chittagong University; Dr AKM Aminul Haque, director (Marine) of the Department of Fisheries; and Pankaj Hazarika, director of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), spoke as experts.
Three keynote papers were jointly presented by Prof Dr Lailufar Yasmin of International Relations department of Dhaka University, Prof Dr Md Moshiur Rahman of Fisheries and Marine Resource Technology discipline of Khulna University and Salehin Sarfaraz, coordinator of Partnership and Advocacy of COAST Trust.
In his speech, Md KM Abdus Salam said that the coastal fishermen should be saved from the high interest of loan if we want to develop their livelihood. “NGOs should come forward to work on these issues,” he said.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, “We are revising our Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan where the Blue Economy issues will be addressed.”
He emphasised on setting priorities for Blue Economy activities with required pro-poor infrastructure development and institutional capacity building.
Pankaj Hazarika said that Bangladesh can lead effective cooperation among the BIMSTEC member countries to implement Blue Economy issues.
Dr Sayedur Rahaman said that the government has undertaken policy but there is considerable gap between policy assumption and real base data.
He expressed concern over the declining trend in fish in the Bay of Bengal and demanded to make a plan for alternative livelihood for the coastal fishermen.
Dr Aminul Haque suggested taking initiatives for cage aquaculture in estuaries of the Bay of Bengal during the ban period of Hilsa for benefiting the coastal fishermen communities.In their keynote papers, the three presenters addressed two important issues -- foreign policy and the government's poverty reduction approach through Blue Economy -- and put in their recommendations.