Impact of COVID-19 on Blue Economy, Challenges and Way of Recovery: Bangladesh Perspective.
The blue economy basically the economy developed by marine-based resources. The blue economy is the oceanic resources which natural offer to the world economy. The elements of blue Economy are fisheries, sea-minerals including oil & gas, ports & shipping, marine tourism, marine biotechnology, deep-sea mining, and transport & logistics, and many more. The blue economy dramatically can improve human well-being. It can also improve the social balance. The economic elements of the blue economy may be the following but not limited to because we never know what is remaining in the vast ocean. Blue economy is basically emerging as an innovative narrative on productive sustainable engagement which only can develop opportunities.
Bangladesh’s economy has grown roughly 6% per year since 1996 despite political instability, poor infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power supplies, slow implementation of economic reforms, and the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the services sector, almost half of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. Garment exports, the backbone of Bangladesh’s industrial sector, accounted for more than 80% of total exports and surpassed $25 billion in 2015. The sector continues to grow, despite a series of factory accidents that have killed more than 1,000 workers, and crippling strikes, including a nationwide transportation blockade implemented by the political opposition during the first several months of 2015. Steady garment export growth combined with remittances from overseas Bangladeshis – which totaled about $15 billion and 8% of GDP in 2015 – are the largest contributors to Bangladesh’s sustained economic growth and rising foreign exchange reserves.
Figure: Industrial contribution in Bangladesh Economy.
“Blue Economy”, saying such activities could create a new horizon for the development of a coastal country like Bangladesh. The Bay of Bengal is an inseparable part of Bangladesh and is our third neighbor. There is no doubt that sea-related subjects like the expansion of international trade, the use of marine mineral resources for long-term energy security, proper management of marine fish resources, and protecting marine environment and bio-diversity would determine Bangladesh’s future development and economic growth. Today, 90% of the country’s trade is transported through the sea. The fish stocks and other inorganic resources in the Bay of Bengal can contribute greatly to our economy. Bangladesh earns substantially by exporting marine fishes. It is now more appropriate than ever to rely on ocean resources and management of such resources through the concept of the Blue economy. To make a sustainable environmental policy to create employment and remove poverty. How the sustainable plan may act. It is designed to promote and develop an economy that works within the dynamics of marine environments. This is the plan to sustain, enhance, and create economic and social values the blue economy. The sustainable plan may approach draws on key principles of social-ecological research and ecosystem-based management relationships as dynamic, integrated, and place-based. We need to know about the marine economy compared to land-based regional economies, especially from an ecological perspective.
Blue Economy & Covid-19
Covid-19 which is now a global pandemic began in late December with only a dozen cases in Wuhan, China. At first, it was thought as only china’s problem but now it has become a global concern. Eventually, COVID 19, is spreading far and wide, making passing and significant interruption the worldwide economy. And this pandemic has squeezed the worldwide economy so in Bangladesh.
Blue economy sectors have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Disruption of supply-side capacity, such as transport routes, limited access to ports and closures, falling demand, and increased number of sanitary and regulatory measures, are undermining these sectors. While some blue economy sectors in affected countries are subject to full closure or running at less than half their capacity, others continue to deliver essential goods and services.
Challenges for Blue Economy Development after COVID-19:
- Travel and Coastal Tourism:
Because of the Covid-19 epidemic this economic sector is totally off. In this situation, we have to think of an alternative way. After this epidemic, we have to work to improve this economic sector. After the COVID-19 economic condition will be bad for every person. So, it is a challenge for us to attract tourist for visiting our country and tourist places.
- Maritime Transport:
at present only emergency goods are shipping all over the world. This sector also badly hampered because of Covid-19. When COVID-19 will be gone we have to start this economic sector and it is our big challenge.
- Fishes and Sea Food Production:
Fishes and Seafood production is one of the most important economic sectors in Bangladesh. But during this epidemic period, this sector is almost stopped.
A role for the blue economy in post COVID-19 recovery and resilience:
There is a clear unprecedented need for recovery and resilience measures. Some of recommended actions that could be deployed to enable a faster blue economic recovery in a post COVID-19 phase include the following:
- Apply the least possible trade-restrictive response measures within the policy objective sought to all goods and services sectors, including blue economic ones;
- Exercise due restraint in scaling up “hidden” sanitary protectionism and closely monitor trade-related response measures;
- Introduce sanitary and social safety readiness and adaptation plans for most vulnerable key blue economic workers in tourism, maritime transport, fisheries and seafood processing;
- Monitor developments in shipping and address bottlenecks hampering trade in critical goods and materials. Key factors to monitor are the time ships spend in port and the reliability of schedules;
- Minimize unnecessary controls and burdensome procedures associated with goods (including of marine origin) clearance to ensure that trade facilitation gains achieved over the years are not eroded;
- Keep up the fight against illegal fishing in all shores and rely as much a possible on electronic monitoring and surveillance systems complemented with targeted inspections and interventions at sea and port;
- Extend fishing seasons, when below total allowable catch, according scientific evidence and without disturbing reproduction periods, so fishers can compensate lack of activity during confinement periods;
- Support fresh production shifts to seafood processing when feasible, as well as new product development and effective logistic support;
- Enhance coordination between fish and seafood suppliers with transport, warehousing and logistical services in order to avoid loss of produce and food waste;
- Design and implement rescue policy packages for vulnerable populations in blue economy sectors and actors;
- Phase out unsustainable public expenditure including fish and fuel subsidies, diverting resources to alternative biodiversity enhancing policies
- Expedite public and private debt forgiveness, total or partially, particularly for SIDS and LDCs.
A healthy ocean is vital to the region’s economy. Bay of Bengal may leader in several coastal and marine industries, but as the natural capital that industries depend on continues to erode, so too will the health of those industries.