- The MoU is an important first milestone. It signals a willingness on behalf of all parties to cooperate and a determination to make a difference on environment and prevention issues in an industry that is increasingly important for Bangladesh, said Ambassador Lund. The agreement follows the visit of Erik Solheim, Norway’s Minister of Environment and Development, at a shipyard in Chittagong one year ago.
The work is supported by Norad and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and is envisaged to be implemented in two phases starting in 2012. The first phase involves a plan to develop the capacity for managing hazardous materials as well as training for health, safety and environmental protection. All the activities in the project is set to contribute to building a sustainable ship recycling in Bangladesh with acceptable health, safety and environmental standards according to national and international norms.
Director of Norad, Bjørn Holter Eriksen, and other delegates at a shipyard in Chittagong
The project also includes an assessment of environmental impacts, capacity building at various levels – from key ministries and the shipyard management to chairmen and the workforce –and is implemented in cooperation with the public, civil society, IMO and other development partners. It reflects the changing nature of Norwegian-Bangladeshi relations with increased priority on capacity building and transfer of expertise in areas where Norwegian efforts can add value to Bangladesh's development plans.
The project is important for contributing to the implementation of the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industries is in the process of formulating guidelines for more environmentally-friendly and safer ship recycling in Bangladesh.
In addition to meetings in Dhaka the parties to the project, including representatives from the Norwegian ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Environment, Norad, IMO, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), visited two shipyards, a training center and a hospital in Chittagong.