Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said that although Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the economy along with public health, it has a silver lining in the form of changes in global efforts to deal with climate change and growing competition for natural resources.
"The world is facing unprecedented challenges of the century due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with health issues, this virus has severely affected our economy. However, the pandemic is also showing some silver lining in changes of global efforts to deal with the climate change and growing competition for natural resources. We need to tackle this pandemic together," she said.
The prime minister said this while delivering her speech through a video message at the 76th Commission Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
The theme of the 76th Commission's session is "Promoting economic, social and environmental cooperation on oceans for sustainable development".
Sheikh Hasina was scheduled to attend the meeting in Bangkok and deliver the keynote speech.
With a view to strengthening economic cooperation among member countries of the ESCAP, she placed three fundamental ocean issues.
These are: enhanced support for capacity building through sharing of knowledge, expertise and transfer of technology from advanced countries on Blue Economy;
Conducting joint research on fisheries development with a view to increasing regional fish production and establishing common platform network in deterring, combating and eliminating Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and lastly, initiating mapping and management of resource identification and critical coastal habitat and biodiversity protection.
Sheikh Hasina said, "The oceans and seas constitute a last resource frontier of the world contributing to our sustenance, that help alleviate poverty and offer employment opportunities."
"Environmental pollutants are the major hurdles of the marine food-web and require an integrated response for the world economy towards a sustainable, inclusive and resource efficient path of using resources of the oceans," she said.
In view of this, she said the government has given utmost importance on promoting the growth of blue economy as part of the long-term national development strategy.
The PM said that Bangladesh has been implementing conservation programmes and using of sustainable and eco-friendly technologies, and a host of other measures to protect freshwater and marine resources.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand and Permanent Representative to the ESCAP Md Nazmul Quaunine has been elected as the chair of the 76th Commission of UNESCAP. Thailand was elected the Vice-Chair.
Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano also sent their video messages in the opening session.
In the session, the Asia Pacific nations have agreed to cooperate in addressing the socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemics and adopted a resolution.
A 7-member Bangladesh delegation led by Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Md Khurshed Alam participated in and contributed to the session through projecting Bangladesh's position in different agenda items and Commission's outcome.