Need integrated efforts to utilise blue economy potential: Speakers

Publish: 9:20 PM, May 14, 2019 | Update: 9:20:PM, May 14, 2019

DHAKA : Speakers at a discussion on Tuesday said that there should be integrated efforts for utilising potentials of the country’s blue economy. “We’ve a huge blue economy potential but no integrated initiative is in place to utilise it,” eminent environmentalist Dr Atiq Rahman told ‘Pre-budget Discussion on Blue Economy’.

Greentec Foundation, a local NGO, organised the discussion at Blue Economy Cell of the Energy Division at Petro Centre in Dhaka’s Kawran Bazar.

With Greentec Vice-President Dr Shafiqul Mazid in the chair, the function was addressed among others by Blue Economy Cell chief and Additional Secretary Dr Golam Shafiuddin, Chairman, Department of Oceanography, University of Dhaka Md. Jobaer Alam, planning ministry Deputy Secretary Khorshed Alam, Bangladesh Ship Building Association leader Shakhawat Hossainand Shah Mamunur Rahman Tuhin, convener of Global Khulna.
Dr Atiq, also executive director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, said that four ministries are directly involved in the blue economy.

“But there’s no visible project to harnessthe potentials. The government should allocate fund in the upcoming budget in this regard,” he said. Blue Economy Cell chief Shafiuddin said that the parliamentary standing committee on energy and mineral resources has recommended a permanent setup to the cell. That recommendation is being processed, he added.

Deputy Secretary Khorshedsaid the policymakers are always interested in promoting blue economy.
“But it’s unfortunate that the planning ministry doesn’t find any suitable project from any ministry to allocate fund for blue economy,” he said.

He suggested NGO officials to submit blue economy related projects through concerned ministries to get funding.
Jobaer Alam in his speech said that, “‘If we need to achieve something then first we need to plant the seed. In this case seed is the academic education. But we are not being able to provide quality academic education due to lack of facilities. In 2012, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in the parliament that Oceanography Department should be opened as soon as possible. After that Oceanography department was opened in Dhaka University. But still there is no scope to provide quality education. If we want to extract real wealth from the sea, then we have to produce real oceanographer (sea scientist). University academic institution can do so. Jobaer Alam also added that as oceanography is an applied science, if the students get enough facilities then within 2030 we will get the real oceanographer.