BD yet to start work in Bay to achieve SDG

By Gazi Anowar , 2017-08-24 02:44:38

Gazi Anowarul Hoque :
Bangladesh has not yet shown  any visible performance to cope with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to conserve marine resources and to earn benefit from them, sources said. 
There is a big scope Bangladesh to develop through utilizing ocean resources-cum-Blue Economy, but no taskforce or commission has yet been formed in this connection till date, they said. 
The UN  has in total 169 targets and 17 goals to guide the transition of sustainable development by 2030.  Of the goals,  No 14  goal deals with oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 
According to UN declarations, Bangladesh needs to restore marine and coastal ecosystems in appropriate cases and science based management plan for marine fisheries by sustainable way to be achieved by 2020.  It needs to significantly reduce marine debris and nutrient pollution by 2025 and to ensure full access of marine resources to small-scale artisanal fishers  by 2030. 
But National Environment Policy, National Fisheries Policy, Coastal Zone Policy, Bio-safety Guidelines of Bangladesh and National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) are not performing to meet the demand of Ocean SDG, the sources said. 
Professor Dr Md Kawser Ahmed, Chairman of Oceanography of Dhaka University told The New Nation on Tuesday, "To achieve SDG at the Sea, we need coordinated effort. Firstly it is needed to form a task force or commission which supervise the SDG."
"We want to get benefit from ocean recourses cum Blue economy, but there has been no survey in the Bay of Bengal  about water life. Besides there is no endeavor to build skilled manpower,'' he  said. 
The UN study says that oceans cover three quarters of the Earth's surface, contain 97 per cent of the Earth's water, and represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet by volume. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. 
Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or about five  percent of global GDP. Oceans contain nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions.
 Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. Oceans serve as the world's largest source of protein, with more than three billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein. Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people.
 Subsidies for fishing are contributing to the rapid depletion of many fish species and are preventing efforts to save and restore global fisheries and related jobs, causing ocean fisheries to generate US$ 50 billion less per year than they could. 
Dr Anisuzzaman Khan, Chairperson of Biodiversity World Foundation said "Coordination between government agencies and private sector should be institutionalized for full observation of SDG at the sea."
"Considering present scenario, the priority targets are restoring marine and coastal ecosystems, science based management for sustainable marine fisheries, significantly reducing land based marine debris and nutrient pollution, and ensuring full access of marine resources to small-scale artisanal fishers," he said.

(This article was published in the daily New Naon on Monday, August 1, 2016)

The writer is a Marine Conservationist based in Bangladesh. He can be reached at gazianower@gmail.com