Incorporation of blue economy action plan in the 8th five-year plan

 

In my first article about blue economy (published in The Independent on 05-05-2018), I stressed on the need of more skilled manpower in this sector. In the 2nd article (published The Independent on 31-10-2019), I stressed on the need of importance of global and regional cooperation to accelerate work of exploitation and exploration of blue economy. In this third one, I want to explain the importance of incorporation of action plan of blue economy in our forthcoming 8th five year plan. Our 7th five year plan will end in 2020 and 8th five year plan will be between the year 2021-2025. In this time, there will be an action plan of all sectors including our blue economy/water economy.

Bangladesh successfully implemented Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now steps have been taken for implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without fail. We can take now pragmatic programmes to implement SDGs evaluating MDGs. We know that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a bold, universal agreement to end poverty in all its dimensions and craft an equal, just and secure world-for people, for prosperity, and for the planet by 2030. The SDGs were adopted by 193 member states at the historic United Nations (UN) General Assembly summit in September 2015, and came to effect on January 1, 2016.

It has 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 169 targets which demonstrated the scale and ambition of this new universal agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what they did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible, and act for balancing the three dimensions of sustainable developments: the economic, social and environment. The goals and targets will stimulate action over the next 15 years (2016-2030) in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. We have passed four years i.e. (from the year 2016-2019) and have only one year in the Seventh Five Year Plan i.e. within 2020. Now we shall have to take an action plan of blue economy in our 8th Five Year Plan (from the year 2021-2025).

Any successful implementation of a plan/project depends on how meticulously it is devised. Blue economy consists of many things which will benefit us in many ways in economics, social and environmental arena, such as oceans are the biggest sources of oxygen, fishing, aquacultures, provide foods and minerals, tackles climate change through absorbing greenhouse effects. Marine renewable energy—solar, wave, tidal—will produce more power that will be injected in the national power grid. Marine bacteria are a rich source of potential drugs. It also includes marine manufacturing—boat, ship, repairing, marine instrumentation, marine industrial engineering, port, shipping, maritime logistics, ship-building, repairing, ship-owners, operators, agents, brokers, ship management, container shipping, custom clearances, freight forwarders.

For marine tourism, sunbathing, sailing, boating at sea, surfing, scuba diving, swimming in the sea, etc, are important. Bird watching in coastal areas, whale and dolphin watching offshore, and trips to beach, seaside and islands are the bright examples of marine tourism. All these activities should be analyzed and should be evaluated in the context of 7th Five Year Plan and should have an action plan for the period in the 8th five year plan.

For unlocking the potentials of blue economy, the 7th Five Year Plan took some pragmatic plans which narrate that for most developing states particularly for Bangladesh, making transition to blue economy would entail fundamental and systematic changes in their policy-regulatory-management-governance framework(s) and identification of various economic functions. The 7th Five Year Plan took 12 appropriate actions/programmes to create and maintain prosperous and sustainable blue economy bases during the 7th plan period. These include fishing, aquaculture, marine culture, renewable energy, human resources development, maritime industries, new technologies and methods, marine tourism, eco-systems, shipping, ship-building, climate change, in land river systems and inland shipping, building a solid science, research and education base and more establishment of marine educational institutions.

In 8th Five Year Plan, we can prioritise selecting block system, classification and priorities of exploration and exploitation, advanced curriculum in maritime education, possibilities of domestic and international cooperation, using blue economy for poverty reduction, creating employment opportunities in this sector, betterment of people, fishers, transportation and communications, possibilities and potentialities of private sector engagement or public-private partnership (PPP) programmes for the blue economy exploration, environment sustainability, urban development in the coastal areas in light of rising sea level and extreme weather events, etc.

A clear-cut roadmap should be designed for the short term, mid-term or long term benefits of this sector. A long term national blue economy policy, rules, laws and regulation reforms can be done in this respect. If needed, new laws can be enacted in the parliament suited for the development of the blue economy. Side by side, we can research and plan our future policies and responsibilities in the period from the year 2026-2030 for the blue economy. Different ministries related with blue economy can start a coordinated long term plan for the successful implementations of blue economy exploration and exploitation and can take policies accordance with goals and targets of the SDG-14 within 2030. It is a great opportunity for us to get economic benefits by making best use of the untapped resources of the sea. It will help to create platform to earn more revenues in our national economy and accelerate GDP growth.

 

Source: 

MD. MUZIBUR RAHMAN

The Independent. Bangladesh. 02-01-2020

The writer specializes on development and

economics issues and can be reached at: E-mail: muzibur64@gmail.com