Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday underscored the need for increased global cooperation, especially in securing technology and market access for resources and products, aiming to ensure sustainable use of ocean and other aquatic sources.
“For sustainable use of ocean and other aquatic sources, we need increased international cooperation, especially in securing technology and market access for our resources and products,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this in a video message at ‘Virtual Ocean Dialogues’ which is being hosted online (from Cologny, Switzerland) from June on 1-5 by the World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action with the theme ‘Connecting Communities for Ocean Resilience, Innovation and Action’.
She said that ocean action is critical to nourishing the future generations and urged all to join hands to renew commitments for ocean action.
PM’s three proposals
To that end, she placed three proposals, firstly, assist developing countries with critically require resources, capabilities and technologies for leveraging full potential of marine resources.
Secondly, conduct joint research on fisheries development; with a view to significantly increase regional fish production and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
And thirdly, Initiate mapping and management of resource identification and critical coastal habitat and biodiversity protection.
Covid-19 and Ocean
The Prime Minister said that this meeting is being held at a time when the entire world is battling the Covid -19 pandemic.
“The pandemic makes us rethink the linkage between the health of the ocean and the health of humankind as ocean offers a great source to combat illness,” she said.
In this connection, she mentioned that ocean contributes to a wide range of goals of the Agenda 2030, from poverty eradication, food security and climate change to the provision of energy, employment creation and improved health. “Implementation of Goal 14 of Agenda 2030 is, therefore, more critical now than ever.”
According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, she said that almost a quarter of all children under-5 years of age are stunted.” A healthy ocean is a vast source of food and nutrition,”she added.
“Oceans can provide six times more food than it does today and help meet the nutrition supply,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that there is already considerable pressure on land and oceanic ecosystems.
“The impact of climate change on fish stocks is also a serious concern. So, we have to strike the critical balance for sustainability,” she said.
The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in ensuring food security for its nearly 165 million people.
“Improved nutrition and safe food production is our priority. Our National Nutrition Program (NNP) aims to improve the nutritional status of all citizens, especially of adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers,” she said.
In this connection she said that due to government’s steps proportion of under-5 moderately or severely stunted children has reduced.
“Bangladesh is the fourth largest inland water fish producer globally. Fish accounts for more than half of our animal-source protein. 17 million people, including 1.4 million women in Bangladesh, depend on the fisheries sector for livelihood. Fish production has increased over the years considerably, and our efforts continue to increase fish production,” she said.
Yet, she said, due to urbanization, inland water bodies are shrinking. “So, we are prioritizing marine fisheries as part of our Blue Economy initiative.”
In this connection, she said that during the 2017 Ocean Conference, Bangladesh made some voluntary commitments.
“We have taken legislative measures to protect, and conserve the fishery resources and the environment from all types of pollution, including plastic debris,” she said.
‘Virtual Ocean Dialogues’ is an interactive global online event, covering key ocean topics from protection and pollution to data and blue economy.
The event is set to connect communities across the world that are seeking innovation and taking bold action for a healthy, resilient, thriving ocean.
In the virtual conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau also delivered a pre-recoded address in another session on the day, while Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg will deliver video message tomorrow on a session titled “Sustainable Ocean Economy”.
The five day event began with the video message of the Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama on June 1 last.