'Manmade pollution key challenge to sustainable maritime development'

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

A view of Bay of Bengal from Himchhari point. Photo: Collected/Prothom AloPlanning minister MA Mannan on Thursday said manmade pollution, contamination, and natural disasters pose challenges to sustainable maritime development.

"We’ve maritime resources but there are many challenges such as pollution, contamination, adverse environment, security, and natural disasters," the minister told an international seminar titled ‘An Outlook for Sustainable Maritime Development and Governance: Challenges and Way Ahead’.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University (BSMRMU) organised the seminar at a city hotel.

The minister said Bangladesh has the longest natural sea beach in the world.

"We’re very interested in maritime activities. The government has lauched many projects in the last decade. We have enhanced our activities in blue economy and also set up BSMRMU," he said.

Mannan said plastic contamination is a thereat for us.

"We need cooperation and coordination from local and international communities to face the challenges to sustainable maritime development. We hope the seminar will help in this regard," the minister said.

As a special guest, admiral Aurangzeb Chowdhury, chief of Naval Staff of Bangladesh Navy, said Bangabandhu emphasised in maritime resources and his daughter prime minister Sheikh Hasina also laid emphasis on blue economy.

BSMRMU vice-chancellor rear admiral M Khaled Iqbal delivered the welcome speech.

He highlighted various current and future activities of the university for creating educated and skilled manpower and thanked maritime professionals, academics, researchers, policy makers and stakeholders for attending the seminar.

A good number of maritime experts and academics from India, Australia, Netherlands, France, Singapore, Philippines, England, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Malaysia and Bangladesh presented papers at the seminar.

Representatives from various ministries, UGC, universities, maritime organisations, and diplomats, civil and military officers were also present. The faculty members, students and various officials of BSMRMU also attended the seminar.

Professor Chris Bellamy from University of Greenwich, UK and advisor of Global Maritime Security and Defense, presented the keynote paper on 'prospects of Blue-Economy and the future potentials of the Bay of Bengal.

Professor Andrew Serdy of UK’s Southampton University focused on the success of Bangladesh in resolving maritime boundary disputes with neighbouring countries through the proper utilisation of maritime law.

Professor of Portsmouth University, UK, Pierre Failler, presented a paper where he mentioned 'blue governance' as an emerging concept based on the 'blue economy' and 'blue growth' which can be ensured through public-private partnerships and institutional cooperation.

Professor Badrul Imam of geology department from University of Dhaka presented his paper on energy scenario in the Bay of Bengal and its future prospects. Professor Lailufar Yasmin of international relations of University of Dhaka highlighted on the steps needed to ensure a sound regional maritime connectivity and security across the Bay of Bengal.

Professor Savita S Kerkar of Goa University, India, presented her paper on Prospects of Marine Natural resources in Developing Health Care products.

Speakers of the seminar marked various potentials of country's maritime future in line with socioeconomic and sustainable development of Bangladesh.

There were three sessions in the seminar entitled 'Regional Maritime Connectivity & Security, Ocean Health & Governance and Maritime Technology & Harnessing Ocean Resources’.

Rear admiral M Khurshed Alam (retd), secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit, foreign affairs ministry, professor Imtiaz Ahmed, international relations department of University of Dhaka and professor Aftab Alam Khan of BSMRMU were the session chairs of the seminar.

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