The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is an international organisation of seven South Asian and Southeast Asian nations, housing 1.73 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of US$ 4.4 trillion
The members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand
BIMSTEC connects not just South and Southeast Asia, but also the Great Himalayas and Bay of Bengal ecologies.
- Creating an enabling environment for the sub-region’s economic growth.
- Encouraging a sense of collaboration and equality.
- Promoting active collaboration and mutual support in areas where member nations have similar interests
- Increasing mutual assistance in the domains of education, research, and technology, among other things.
About Bay of Bengal Maritime Dialogue (BOBMD)
- The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Pathfinder Foundation recently convened the Bay of Bengal Maritime Dialogue (BOBMD), which brought together government officials, maritime experts, and representatives from leading think tanks from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia.
- Participants advocated for increased efforts in areas such as environmental protection, scientific research, and the establishment of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to manage interactions between fishing vessels from one nation and maritime law enforcement authorities from another, curtailing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, etc.
Challenges faced by BIMSTEC
- In terms of maritime research, there is currently minimal cooperation between countries in the region. Interactions between the region’s top universities and outstanding scientists, for example.
- Cyclonic storms are becoming more often, and the water level is rising.
- Terrorism and piracy are examples of anthropogenic security risks.
- Another key source of tension between countries is fishermen entering into other countries’ territorial seas. Fishermen from India and Sri Lanka, for example, are at odds.
- Plastic pollution, destruction of natural flood defences like as mangroves, sea erosion, urbanisation and population pressure in coastal regions, massive amounts of untreated waste flow, yearly loss of mangrove areas, and the creation of a dead zone are all issues that the Bay of Bengal is dealing with.
BIMSTEC and blue economy
- The Bay of Bengal is a significant natural resource source.
- It has diverse marine habitats such as vulnerable estuaries, mangrove forests, coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and sea turtle mass nesting places.
- It also serves a population of 185 million people that live along the coast.
- Fishermen, for example, rely on their catch to survive.
- Developing marine trade, shipping, aquaculture, and tourism are all viable options.
- For data collecting and real-time stock assessment of fish stocks, a participatory approach must be developed. A regional open fisheries data alliance might be formed in this context.
- The conservation of the marine environment should be a top concern. It is possible to create protected zones.
- For exploiting the potential of BOB and resolving marine concerns of a transboundary character in the BOB region, regional coordinated and concerted effort is required.
- Both the Bay of Bengal Programme (BOBP) and the FAO’s Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) should be supported at the BIMSTEC summit.
- Frameworks for preventing and managing water contamination can be built.
- To enhance fisheries management and promote sustainable fishing methods, contemporary technologies and better fishing practises can be applied.
- Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing should be closely monitored, controlled, and monitored. An international vessel tracking system can be built to do this. It should be built a regional fishing vessel register system, automated identification system (AIS) trackers for vessels, better coordinated regional patrols, and so forth.
- More scientific study on climate change and its effects in general, as well as on fisheries in particular, is also required.
How to structure:
- Give a brief intro about BIMSTEC- use map to point out the countries
- Explain its objectives/framework
- Explain the challenges in the Bay of Bengal region and focus on why BIMSTEC needs to change its framework
- Suggest further measures