Harnessing the potential of Blue Economy - 29th March, 2017
HE Sophie Aubert, Ambassador of France to Bangladesh
Dear Mr Tajul Islam, MP,
Dear Special guests,
Dear Mr Shafi, head of the Blue economy cell
And dear audience,
It’s an honor and a pleasure for me to open this workshop. Today we will focus on Blue economy in order to highlight its potential and discuss how to know more about it and how to exploit this potential in Bangladesh. The world has been subject to a series of economic and industrial revolutions in the past, the most recent one being the digital revolution. But in the coming years, we should consider very seriously the maritime revolution, which has already started actually. Seas and oceans are the new frontiers, the new environment to explore for the development of our societies, because they are at the intersection of all the economic sectors, and because they meet the needs of our humanity and our ways of life : I mean food, energy transition which is fundamental considering the climate change issue, but also health, minerals, transports, leisure and many other issues…
But we must recognize that the need to explore this new environment is also the result of our mistakes, as a global society, because our human activity and our industrialized world led to the progressive depletion of our land resources. That’s the reason why the actors of the blue economy must absolutely develop a responsible approach of this new economy : because the challenge will be to preserve its sustainability.
A few words about Blue economy in France : in France, considering our overseas territories, our maritime territory is the second largest territory in the world, accounting for 11 M square km. We are a maritime country, with three seaboards as for the metropolitan part of the country. The figures may vary from one source to another, but according to a latest study carried out by Boston Consulting Group for the French Sea Foundation, today, our blue economy accounts for 270 Bn€ a year, which is 14% of our growth domestic product, and it employs 820.000 persons in a large range of sectors. It’s three times more than the French car industry, six times more than the French aeronautic industry.
We don’t underestimate how difficult it is to go from the strategy to the implementation of the strategy. It needs strong governance, methodology, clear organization and a strong coordination. In Bangladesh, we have worked for long with the Navy, we are also working with scientists of the BUET and Dhaka University on issues related to the oceans, to help Bangladesh increase its knowledge of its maritime environment. Today we would like to go a step further. This workshop is jointly organized by the Embassy and the Blue economy cell, our partner. The idea of this workshop came up because we thought that we could share our experience with Bangladesh, starting from very concrete examples taken in the real life.
The question we want to address today seems to be simple : how to turn the Blue economy strategy adopted by Bangladesh in 2014 into an action plan, to implement the strategy ? The Blue economy cell is the starting point. We have invited some representatives of the French public and private sectors leading our blue economy in France, to share their knowledge and their experience, to present how both the public and the private sectors can work together, on sectors considered as priority sectors in Bangladesh. I am sure this workshop will be very fruitful.
I thank you for your attention./.