Date of Award
Master of Science in Maritime Affairs
Marine Environmental & Ocean Management
Hildebrand, Lawrence P.
The coast of Bangladesh is highly dynamic, unique and diverse, the south-western part of which hosts the world’s largest single mangrove forest; the south-central part receives the world’s second largest river system (Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna system), contributing to form the world’s largest delta in Bangladesh; and the south-eastern part provides room for major industrial and economic activities such as ports and shipping, ship recycling (2nd in global ranking), ship building, fisheries and tourism (Beaches in Cox’s Bazar – the world’s longest). The earlier land-side coastal management initiatives, which totally ignore ocean issues, have failed to bring a remarkable outcome mainly due to the lack of coordination, weak monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and knowledge gap. After the settlement of maritime boundary disputes with Myanmar (2012) and India (2014), Bangladesh gained a maritime area of 118,813 sq km (about 81% of the country’s land area), giving room to explore marine resources and expand ocean-based activities further towards the sea within national jurisdiction, for which the development of a comprehensive ocean governance framework and initiation of an MSP process is now being talked at the highest policy level. Given the country’s vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters that influence the lives and livelihood of the coastal community (28% of the country’s total population), development initiatives in the coastal area must consider adequate resilient and adaptive measures and conservation of marine resources for long-term sustainability. Informed decisions based on scientific and traditional knowledge, and past experience, can help the decision making process regarding coastal and ocean management become more sustainable.