Bangladesh has ranked 61st among 66 of the world's coastal countries and territories in the Blue Technology Barometer, recently published by MIT Technology Review, a magazine of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US.
Bangladesh's low ranking in the barometer reflects the country's slow and uneven progress or commitment toward protecting ocean sustainability.
Bangladesh and 35 other bottom-ranked coastal countries often struggle to maintain a balance between maritime industry and ocean conservation – the protection of marine species and ecosystems in oceans. These countries usually lack the investment and scientific resources to build technology to compensate for the harmful effect of the maritime industry.
As a result, Bangladesh along with these other countries have been referred to as the "blue technology strivers" where economic pressures run counter to sustainable development.
Bangladesh scored only 3.23 out of 10, a consolidated score across the pillars where 10 is the best. The average score of 66 coastal countries and territories was 4.83.
Released on Monday, the barometer ranked the countries and territories based on four pillars which measure the degree to which economies are prioritising the protection of ocean health through sustainable marine activity, technology innovation, and policy implementation.
It was developed through the analysis of select datasets and primary research interviews with global blue technology innovators, policymakers, and international ocean sustainability organisations.
The sea area of Bangladesh is approximately 2.07 lakh square kilometres which is 1.4 times bigger than its total land area, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS-III).
How Bangladesh performed across four pillars
Bangladesh has performed worst in the "technology innovation" pillar – the most significant pillar to calculate the overall score – which measures the country's contribution to ocean sustainable technology research and development, including expenditure, patents, and startups.
With a score of just 1.23, the country secured a place at the bottom (66th) of this pillar.
In the "ocean environment," Bangladesh has ranked second worst. This pillar assessed the country according to its levels of marine water contamination, plastic recycling efforts, the CO2 emissions of its marine activities (relative to the size of its economy), and the recent change of its total emissions. Bangladesh ranked 65th in this pillar, with a score of 3.52.
The report stated, "Given the success of endangered species fishing bans in replenishing stock, the Bangladesh government may lift popular fish species bans."
"Harm reduction efforts to non-fished species such as dolphins, sharks, and stingrays have also increased."
As a result, Bangladesh performed best in the "marine activity" among the four pillars, which assessed the country on the sustainability of its marine activities, including shipping, fishing, and protected areas. With a score of 6.59, the country ranked 19th in the pillar.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh came 42nd in the "policy and regulation" pillar with a score of 6.55 based on its stance on ocean sustainability-related policy and regulation, including national-level policies, taxes, fees, and subsidies, and the implementation of international marine law.
Advanced countries are blue leaders
The top 10 scorers in the barometer — the "blue technology leaders" — are all advanced economies and with the important exception of South Korea, all of them are Western economies.
With a score of 7.83, the United Kingdom ranked first, mainly because of its blue technology ecosystem as it has robust research and development in maritime and sustainability technologies, and a number of blue tech startups.
It is followed by Germany, Denmark, the United States, Finland, Norway, France, Sweden, South Korea, and Canada.
After the top 10 leaders, the next 20 countries form the "blue technology challengers," with median scores from Japan (11th) at 6.37 to India (30th) at 4.67.
Meanwhile, many countries in the bottom 60% are referred to as the "blue technology strivers".
Among South Asian countries, Pakistan ranked 56th and scored 3.61.
Cameroon ranked at the bottom, with a score of just 2.76. It was preceded by Peru (ranked 65th), Angola (64th), Qatar (63rd) and Algeria (62nd)
MIT Technology Review was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1899.