The 4th round of Foreign Office Consultations between Bangladesh and the Netherlands took place virtually today (22 April 2021). Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation, while the Dutch delegation was led by the Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paul Huijts.
Acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 on their respective societies, both leaders shared their views on post-COVID-19 economic recovery to ‘build back better.’ They highlighted the strong ties between the two friendly countries over the past 50 years marked by a significant Dutch role in Bangladesh’s early infrastructural development and water management and food security efforts; and elaborated on political and economic developments that shifted gradually from development cooperation to economic cooperation.
The delegations held an in-depth discussion on means to strengthen economic ties further and exchanging knowledge in areas of water management, agriculture, digitalization, and climate adaptation. The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 was specifically discussed as it is the key vehicle for integrating cooperation on water management and food security.
As the Dutch side underscored the importance of accommodating business climate, as well as adherence to global labor and environmental standards in order to attract more foreign investment and business to Bangladesh; the Bangladesh side asserted the need for promoting responsible business conduct in the global supply chain and for continued international support measures following its graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status. The current focus of increasing cooperation and connectivity between the EU and the Indo-Pacific region was also discussed.
Expressing gratitude for Bangladesh’s hospitality towards the Rohingya people, the Dutch side took note of ongoing discussions on humanitarian issues between the international donor community and Bangladesh. On recent political developments in Myanmar, both countries shared their concerns with regard to the safe, sustainable, dignified, and voluntary return of the Rohingyas to their homeland. The two countries also reiterated commitment towards justice and accountability for the human rights violations committed in Myanmar.
The Foreign Office Consultations featured the willingness of both countries to explore and take up opportunities for further deepening and diversifying the bilateral ties.