Bangladesh has urged the 23 member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association to increase mutual cooperation to reap the greatest benefits of the blue economy.
"The optimal use of marine resources has been recognised as one of the key components of sustainable development. Hence, we believe the regional vision for the blue economy must be supported by a balanced integration of the economic, social, and environmental elements of development," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said.
There is a need for a sustained dialogue among stakeholders to identify and deliberate on various economic challenges confronting the region, the minister added, while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Leadership Summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum – the private sector arm of the Indian Ocean Rim Association – at the Hotel Intercontinental in Dhaka.
"Identifying mechanisms to address the challenges and evolving new frameworks for cooperation is also imperative," added Abdul Momen.
Taking part in the programme, Commerce minister Tipu Munshi said, "We are now going through a big crisis, mainly caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, after Covid-19. To overcome this, inclusive regional development is crucial."
The commerce minister also urged the member countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association to invest in Bangladesh.
Chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum, Sheikh Fazle Fahim, and Indian Ocean Rim Secretary General Salman Al Farisi, among others, also spoke at the event.
The two-day Leader Summit is scheduled to end on Monday.
Bangladesh, as the current chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, will also host on 24 November, the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Ministers, themed, "Harnessing the opportunities of the Indian Ocean sustainably for inclusive development".