Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 14 December: Bangladesh and the United States may soon enter into a maritime cooperation framework under the “Vision for Advancing US-Bangladesh Economic Partnership”, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Thursday.
For the first time, the US began a “Comprehensive Economic Partnership Dialogue” with Bangladesh in September as it wants Bangladesh to be a part of its Indo-Pacific Strategy.
“Dhaka believes that the regional vision for the blue economy must be supported by a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental elements of development,” Momen said at an international webinar, without elaborating on the framework.
At the webinar titled “Blue economy in post covid-19 era: resilience strategies for the coastal states”, organised by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University, Momen said blue economy is one of the resource frontiers in the recovery process from pandemic as oceans are both an engine for global economic growth and a key source of food security.
“Maximum utilisation of blue economy is the key to our strides to overcome the adverse effects of the pandemic,” he said while speaking as the chief guest at the event.
Bangladesh should aim at developing an inclusive and people-centric blue economy by enhancing capacity-building with innovative financing, ensuring the transfer of critical technology and strengthening cross-sectoral partnerships and collaboration with other maritime nations.
In the context of Bay of Bengal, he said, “We need to develop a cooperative mechanism among the littoral states to promote collaboration for reaping maximum benefits of blue economy”.
Noting that Bangladesh considers the blue economy as one of the cornerstones of its economic growth and socio-economic development, the foreign minister said maritime capacity building should be planned in regard to governance and institutional framework, research, managerial and technical skills.
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“We should also design the ocean governance policies for effective utilisation of maritime realm and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources reducing the risk of irreversible damage to the marine ecosystems,” he said.
He recalled that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had enacted the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act-1974, much before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) was created by the United Nations in 1982, which laid the foundation for Bangladesh’s maritime rights and responsibilities.
Later, due to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s prudent and dynamic leadership, Bangladesh has amicably resolved the delimitation of the maritime boundary with its neighbours India and Myanmar and attained undisputed sovereignty over maritime area of 118, 813 sq km in the Bay of Bengal, the minister added.