A high level multistakeholders national workshop was held at the conference room of Department of Fisheries in Dhaka on July 23, 2017 discussing ways in which fisheries and aquaculture sector can contribute to the achievement of SDGs in Bangladesh. Organized by Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) in collaboration with Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Department of Fisheries (DOF) marking the National Fish Week 2017 (July 18-24, 2017), it was attended by Mr. Md. AbulKalam Azad, Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs), Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. KaziAminul Islam, Executive Chairman, BIDA, Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Water and Resources, Mr. Md. Maksudul Hasan Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock, Mr. Shubhashish Bose, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Abdul Karim, former Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Managing Director, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, Mr. Md. Amin Ullah, President, Frozen Foods Exporters’ Association and high DoF officials, representatives of development partners, representative of academia and private sector stakeholders.
The participants in the workshop stressed that the present 160 million strong population of Bangladesh will continue growing in the near, medium and long term exceeding 21.26 million by 2021. Assuring food security and nutritional requirements of this growing population will constitute a major challenge for Bangladesh. Accelerating growth in the fisheries and aquaculture sector will thus be of crucial importance for achieving SDGs in the Bangladesh context, particularly those relating to poverty eradication, eliminating hunger and improving the nutritional status of the growing Bangladesh population.
Syed Arif Azad, Director General, Department of Fisheries informed the meeting about the Government’s commitment to work without relenting to realize the full potential of the fisheries and aquaculture sector and noted that work has already been initiated for this purpose. The workshop deliberations considered how sectoral development goals could be aligned with the relevant SDGs of Bangladesh. It was highlighted by all the workshop participants that creating and enabling growth facilitating environment would be needed for the sustained development of the sector. Bangladesh will need to look into the possibility for its waster-bodies leasing system, conservation challenges, serious steps needed to overcome supply side constraints stymieing growth in the sector, extension of credit facilities for small fish farmers, greater emphasis on quality control and harnessing the growth enhancing potential of research and field level extension of positive research outcomes.
The workshop participants also emphasized on need for sustained and adequate investment for the sector, greater inter-ministerial coordination, promotion of private and public sector collaboration, coordination of efforts and development initiatives of Government of Bangladesh and development partners as well as meticulous planning, sequencing of interventions and monitoring of initiatives taken.
Dr. Mahmudul Karim from BSFF made a keynote presentation on the occasion. Syed Mahmudul Huq, Chairman of BSFF moderated the workshop deliberations and important observations were made during discussions, among others, by Mr. KaziAminul Islam, Executive Chairman, BIDA, Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Water and Resources, Mr. Md. Maksudul Hasan Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock, Mr. Shubhashish Bose, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Abdul Karim, former Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Managing Director, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, Mr. Md. Amin Ullah, President, Frozen Foods Exporters’ Association.