Ensuring a Sustainable Blue Economy in an Open and Interconnected Indo-Pacific Region: Japan-Bangladesh Cooperation in Synergizing Latent Potentials Among South & Southeast Asian Bay of Bengal Littoral and Adjacent Countries

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Ensuring a Sustainable Blue Economy in an Open and Interconnected Indo-Pacific Region: Japan-Bangladesh Cooperation in Synergizing Latent Potentials Among South & Southeast Asian Bay of Bengal Littoral and Adjacent Countries

The Indo-Pacific region, which is home to more than half of the world's population, thriving economies, and diverse ecosystems, is poised to play an increasingly important role in the future of our planet, the global economy, and international relations. Japan’s vision for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” seeks to ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, establishing a free and open order based on the shared values and principles such as the rule of law.

Bangladesh, as a nation located in Asia’s epicenter and at the apex of the Bay of Bengal, has become a country of growing focus by the international community, including Japan. For its continuing prosperity, Bangladesh must continue to serve as a facilitator of free marine transit in the Bay of Bengal, located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region and part of the global commons of the ocean.

This year (2022), Japan and Bangladesh are celebrating 50 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. Japan has played a pivotal role in the development of Bangladesh since its independence through significant investments in the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B), supporting Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a developed country by 2041. The BIG-B plan aims to improve connectivity between Bangladesh and its neighboring countries Bhutan, Nepal, and India's northeastern region, so that Bangladesh may become an economic hub of the region. Given Bangladesh's significance in the region, Japan benefits from a stable and prosperous Bangladesh, just as Bangladesh requires Japan as a long-term development partner.

However, BIG-B, which emphasizes Bay of Bengal-based infrastructure development for economic growth and connectivity with South Asian and littoral countries, does not incorporate blue economy perspectives (marine shipping, renewable energy, fisheries, coastal and marine tourism, marine conservation). Dangers to the Bay of Bengal’s very important but very fragile ecosystem are only now beginning to be understood, and prolonged environmental damage from a combination of climate change and rising traffic from global commerce could increasingly erode economic and political stability in the region.

This international conference entitled “Ensuring a Sustainable Blue Economy in an Open and Interconnected Indo-Pacific Region: Japan-Bangladesh Cooperation in Synergizing Latent Potentials among South & Southeast Asian Bay of Bengal Littoral and Adjacent Countries” will be jointly organized by the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBOBS), Independent University Bangladesh, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) on November 27-28, 2022, at Independent University Bangladesh and also streamed online. This conference will examine the potential to integrate blue economy priorities in the BIG-B initiatives, and to gather policymakers, practitioners, and experts to discuss challenges, provide policy guidance, propose future actions for cooperation in the region, and consider a roadmap to support a blue economy that is sustainable for Bangladesh.

We look forward to the participation of all those who are interested in marine issues.
Organizers Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF)
Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB)
Date and time November 27, 2022, 14:00-16:00 (JST)  17:00-18:30 (JST)
November 28, 2022, 13:00-14:30 (JST)  15:00-16:45 (JST)
Venue Streamed Online

*The event itself will be held at IUB, so for those joining in person, please also register from the form provided on this page, and refer to the address below. 

IUB-Auditorium, Independent University Bangladesh, Plot 16 Aftab Uddin Ahmed Rd, Dhaka 1229, Bangladesh
Program (Provisional) DAY-ONE-November 27, 2022
【11:00-13:00 (BST (UTC +6)), 14:00-16:00 (JST (UTC +9))】
INAUGURAL SESSION: Japan's Vision in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific

Ambassador (retd) Tariq A Karim, Director, Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies (CBoBS), Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB)

Welcome Remarks:
Tanweer Hasan, PhD., Vice-Chancellor, IUB

Chief guest:
H.E. Dr. A K Abdul Momen, M.P, Hon’ble-Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh

Guest of honor:
Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President, Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF)
H.E Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister, Bangladesh
Mr. Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan (TBC)

Remarks by Special Guests:
Mr. Abdul Hai Sarker, Chairman, Board of Trustees, IUB
H.E. ITO Naoki, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh 
H.E. Prof. Sudharshan D.S. Seneviratne, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Bangladesh
H.E. Peter D Hass, Ambassador of the USA to Bangladesh
H.E. Pranay Verma, High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh 
H.E. Ambassador Tenzin Lekphell, Secretary General of BIMSTEC
Mr. Edimon Ginteng, Country Director for Bangladesh, Asian Development Bank

Vote of Thanks:
Prof. Niaz Ahmed Khan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, IUB

【14:00-15:30 (BST (UTC +6)), 17:00-18:30 (JST (UTC +9))】
THEMATIC SESSION 1: Panel Discussion on the Role of MIDI and BIG-B Towards Creating a Sustainable Blue Economy in Bangladesh

Session Chair:
Dr. Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director, CPD

Paper Presentations:
Paper 1- Role of BIG-B in Sustainable Blue Economy Bangladesh: Challenges VS Possibilities- Dr. Atsushi Watanabe, Senior Fellow, and Dr. Emadul Islam, Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF, Japan
Paper 2- Dr. Anwar Hossain, Associate Professor, Department of Fisheries, University of Dhaka

Rear Admiral Md. Khurshed Alam (Retd) - Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit (MAU), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh
Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Former Principal Secretary and Coordinator (SDGs), Prime Minister's Office, Bangladesh
Mr. Shaikh Yusuf Harun, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Economic Processing Zone Authority (BEZA)
Rear Admiral M. Shahjahan, NDC, Chairman, Chattogram Port Authority, Bangladesh 

DAY-TWO-November 28, 2022
【10:00-11:30(BST (UTC +6)), 13:00-14:30(JST (UTC +9))】
THEMATIC SESSION 2: Panel Discussion on Sub-regional Connectivity in the South Asian Bay of Bengal Littoral and Adjacent Countries 

Session chair:
Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, Department of International Relation, University of Dhaka

Paper Presentations:
Paper-1 Sustainable fisheries and marine conservation in Bay of Bengal and East Indian Ocean- Mr. Masanori Kobayashi, Senior Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF, Japan
Paper-2 Synergizing potentials among South and Southeast Asia: Governance and policy frameworks for connecting the Bay of Bengal-Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Studies and Governance, IUB

Panelists [Discussants]:
Mr. Tomohide Ichiguchi, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Bangladesh
Ambassador Mashfee Shams, Secretary (East), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh
Dr. C Raja Mohan, Senior Fellow, Asia Society Policy Institute, New Delhi (Immediate past Director, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore)
Mr. Ippeita Nishida, Senior Research Fellow, SPF, Japan

【12:00-13:45(BST (UTC +6)), 15:00-16:45(JST (UTC +9))】
Japan-Bangladesh Partnership in Ensuring Sustainable Development in the Eco-fragile Bay of Bengal and Beyond

Ambassador (retd) Tariq Karim, Director CBoBS-IUB

Chief guest:
H. E Tipu Munshi, Hon’ble Commerce Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh

Guest of Honor:
H.E. Dr. Shamsul Alam, Honorable Minister of State, Ministry of Planning, Bangladesh
H.E. Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Honorable Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change, Bangladesh Parliament 

Special Guests:
Dr. Tomonari Akamatsu, Director of Division of Ocean Policy Research, OPRI-SPF, Japan
Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh
Dr. Farina Ahmed, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Bangladesh
Rear Admiral M. Khaled Iqbal, BSP, ndc, psc, Vice-Chancellor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University, Bangladesh

Vote of thanks:
Dr. Emadul Islam, Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF, Japan

*Please note that the speakers, themes, and times are subject to change.
Languages English
Admission Fee Free

*Please register from the form provided below. When registering, please kindly double check the email address provided in the form before submitting.

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*We look forward to your participation.
Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF)
Please send inquiries on the event to oceanpolicy-event(@)

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