Prioritise blue economy: IORA Dhaka Declaration calls on member states

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-09-06 00:50:14 BdST


The ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association or IORA has ended with the adoption of ‘Dhaka Declaration’ calling upon the 22 member states to ‘prioritise blue economy’ with adequate focus on well-being and livelihood of people.

The 17-point declaration noted that blue economy requires a balanced approach between conservation and development as well as utilization of marine and coastal eco-systems with a view of enhancing their values and generating decent employment.

Bangladesh hosted this third of its kind meeting on blue economy. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the meeting on Thursday morning and said there is no alternative to cooperation and coordination among the partners to get the best results from the blue economy.

At the closing press briefing, Secretary to the maritime affairs unit of the foreign ministry Md Khurshed Alam read out the highlights of the Dhaka Declaration.

The retired rear admiral said the meeting recognised that Indian Ocean is the “vital source” for food security, renewable energy, job creation, poverty alleviation, trade, tourism and investment opportunity and connectivity.

He said for Bangladesh, which is now focusing on blue economy after resolving the maritime disputes with Myanmar and India, IORA is helpful for technical support in different projects.

“They have committed to help us in oyster culture project and flora and fauna project.”

“We have always been focused on rivers as we call Bangladesh a riverine country despite the fact that we have only 12,000 to 15,000 square kilometre rivers. But we have a vast ocean which is now 118,000 square kilometres. But our focus on ocean is very new after the settlement of maritime boundary issues,” he said when asked.

In the Dhaka Declaration, the IORA member states recognised blue economy as a mean to attain the sustainable development, taking into account advantages and strategies of managing the oceanic resources at regional and sub-regional levels.

The meeting called upon the member states to consider ‘marine spatial planning’ as a useful tool to carry out integrated and cross-sectoral planning at country level.

The member states agreed to establish an “economic database” for blue economy constituent blocks.

In collaboration with the dialogue partners, they agreed to promote creation of robust ‘maritime domain awareness’ of blue economy among people-at-large, communities and policymakers.

The IORA is an inter-governmental organisation established on Mar 7, 1997 and consists of countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

The member states are 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 are the dialogue partners.