DHAKA, Sept 5, 2019 (BSS) – The 3rd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Ministerial Conference ended here today adopting a 17-point Dhaka declaration that underlined to consider ‘Marine Spatial Planning’ as useful tool to develop marine value chains recognizing oceanic resources as a means to attain sustainable development.
According to the declaration, the IORA member states will strengthen cooperation to protect, conserve and preserve the marine environment amid growing threat of climate change in particular to lives and livelihoods of people in the Indian Ocean region.
“The member states adopted the declaration in pursuit of promoting an inclusion blue economy through sustainable use of its opportunities for socio-economic development in the Indian Ocean Rim Region,” Secretary (Maritime Affair Units) of foreign ministry Rear Admiral (rtd) Md Khurshed Alam told newsmen at a briefing after the conference at Hotel InterContinental here.
Alam said Bangladesh has already formulated numbers of policies to explore full potential of blue economy but “we are still lack of oceanography knowhow and mass awareness about huge potential of our sea resources”.
He urged the country’s private sector to invest more in blue economy as well as called upon media to conduct positive campaign about opportunities of sea resources.
Bangladesh has taken two projects on improving oyster culture and exploring flora and fauna of Bay of Bengal, he added.
IORA Secretary General Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe also spoke at the press briefing.
Ministers and state ministers drawing from more than 12 IORA member states participated in the ministerial-level meeting that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this morning.
Australia, Iran, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, and Comoros foreign ministers, Kenyan minister for agriculture and fisheries, Mauritius minister for ocean economy, Madagascar minister for agriculture and livestock, Maldives minister for marine resources, Somalian state minister for foreign affairs, Thai deputy minister for foreign affairs South African deputy minister for environment and forest attended the conference with other foreign dignitaries.
The inter-governmental organisation IORA was established in 1997 with 21 countries bordering the Indian Ocean – Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Japan, Germany, China, the UK, the US, France, and Egypt were the dialogue partners of IORA.
The Dhaka declaration said IORA member states will endeavor to prioritize blue economy with adequate focus on well-being and livelihood of people through engagements among countries and stakeholders to secure sustained and beneficial outcomes of all ocean-centric enterprises.
It said the member states will align their legal, regulatory and institutional framework and ocean management policies with the sustainable development of blue economy.
In the wake of growing marine pollution and ocean acidification, the declaration said IORA member states will address consequent impacts by supporting the advancement of ocean science in these areas, particularly through enhance cooperation with dialogue partners.
It said IORA member states will acknowledge importance and contribution of key global process with regard to governance, observation and assessment of oceans and sea within the UN systems.
IORA member states will endeavor to establish an economic database for Blue Economy constitute blocks and to promote creation of robust ‘maritime domain awareness’ of blue economy among people-at-large, communities and policymakers.
Moreover, under the declaration the member states will prioritize engagement on various aspects of fisheries and aquaculture.