Significance of Bangladesh’s IMO vice presidency
Posted on November 29th, 2023

Mehjabin Bhanu- Bangladeshi culuminst, security and strategic affairs analyst, teacher.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) encourages governments to work together to regulate shipping involved in international trade and to adopt the highest standards that are practical in terms of maritime safety, navigation efficiency, and the prevention and control of marine pollution from ships.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency tasked with creating and approving policies to enhance maritime safety and security and to stop ship pollution, is crucial to achieving the objectives outlined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the UN: Seas, oceans, and marine resources should be preserved and used responsibly for sustainable development.

In this context, Bangladesh was chosen to serve as the 33rd Assembly of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) First Vice-President. Saida Muna Tasnim is Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the IMO and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. By the votes of the representatives of the member states present at the meeting on November 27, she was chosen to the significant position of Vice-President of the Assembly. This is the first time Bangladesh has ever been voted to one of the highest positions of the prestigious IMO General Assembly of 175 member states that meets biennially in London to adopt all regulatory, financial, legal, and technical co-operation decisions of the global maritime industry and government.

The top-level specialized agency of the United Nations is called the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO was founded by a treaty that was approved in Geneva on March 6, 1948, and went into effect on March 17, 1958. Originally known as the International Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), the organization was founded in 1948. It became a specialized agency of the United Nations on January 13, 1959. In 1982, it changed its name to the International Maritime Organization. Bangladesh joined the IMO in 1976. It is in charge of ensuring that shipping is safe and secure as well as preventing ship-related air and marine pollution globally. The activity of the IMO advances the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Bangladesh has never before been elected to the second-highest position in the IMO, First Vice-President. The IMO General Assembly, which meets in London and is attended by 175 member states, makes decisions regarding all legal, financial, regulatory, and technical cooperation issues pertaining to the international maritime industry and government. The Saudi Arabian Permanent Representative to the IMO, Prince Khalid bin Bandar Al Saud, assumed the role of President.

It is noteworthy that Bangladesh has won an IMO election for the first time in recent memory. Bangladesh was not elected to the IMO Executive Council in 2021. It is in charge of ensuring that shipping is safe and secure as well as preventing ship-related air and marine pollution globally. The activity of the IMO advances the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

For Bangladesh to make the transition to a green marine sector, the IMO and other important maritime partners must provide financial, technical, and knowledge assistance. It is admirable that Bangladesh has committed to ratifying the Hong Kong Convention by 2023. Bangladesh has already significantly contributed to global decarbonization by reducing, reusing, and recycling steel, making it the world’s top ship recycling country. Bangladesh is presently cooperating with the IMO’s SENSREC Project Phase-III for safe and ecologically responsible ship recycling.

But the Bangladeshi government’s timely international acknowledgment for its effective management of its maritime resources comes in the form of the vice-presidentship of the IMO. It also demonstrates Bangladesh’s government’s commitment to assisting the nation in developing a sustainable marine industry. The goal of the climate-friendly government of Bangladesh is to decarbonize the nation’s maritime industry. For the most part, this is in line with the IMO’s 2050 GHG reduction plan. Citing many studies, including a UNCTAD study, one large ship recycling nation, by itself, contributes considerably to the decarbonization of the marine sector by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 2,000 kg every metric ton of recycled steel. In order to promote innovative technology for green shipping to Bangladesh’s public and commercial shipping sectors, the IMO should launch a pilot project in that nation. The administration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is commended for raising environmental, safety, and ship recycling requirements in Bangladesh. IMOs need to keep encouraging Bangladesh to develop a green shipping sector. For Bangladesh to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it must prioritize other matters.  Bangladesh will therefore find it simple to take advantage of the situation.  Bangladesh has a fantastic chance in front of it.  Bangladesh may use the ocean economy as a vehicle for national development that is sustainable.  The country will become a developing nation as a result of its ocean economy.

The term “blue economy” refers to a marine resource-based economy, the fundamental idea of which is to ensure that seawater and a nation’s organic and inorganic resources are used to the greatest extent possible at the lowest possible cost to the economy.  For a very long time, the Sunil economy has made contributions to the global economy. 

The blue economy in Bangladesh has a lot of promise. Following the resolution of the maritime boundary dispute between Bangladesh, Myanmar, and India between 2012 and 2014, the outcome favored Bangladesh.  Bangladesh’s marine area grew by thirty percent as a consequence.  The outcome is an additional 1 lakh 18 thousand 813 square kilometers of marine space for the nation.  This significantly raises its maritime potential.  Bangladesh’s tourism, marine fishing, commerce, exploration of natural resources, and energy potential all grow as a consequence.

There is no other way to concentrate on preventing environmental pollution, combating climate change, and protecting biodiversity but to take use of the enormous potential of the Bay of Bengal.  From an environmental perspective, places that are in critical condition should be the focus of monitoring systems that are established.  Both private monitoring and international collaboration are necessary to protect the ecosystem in the coastal area of the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh’s commitment to assisting the nation in achieving a sustainable marine economy is therefore shown by its vice presidency of the IMO.

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