Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought investment from the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) partners in Bangladesh’s long-term climate projects such as Delta Plan.
“I invite all interested ASEM partners to invest in projects under our long-term Bangladesh Delta Plan and Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan,” she said.
She also called upon Asia and Europe to work in unison to mobilize finances and technology to effectively fight climate change.
Marking ASEM’s 25th anniversary, the summit brought together the leaders of the European and Asian member countries, the EU and the ASEAN Secretariat.
The overall theme of ASEM13 is “Strengthening multilateralism for shared growth”.
Cambodia currently holds the rotating ASEM presidency.
Sheikh Hasina said Asia and Europe must join hands for mobilizing finances and technology to combat climate change, adding, “We need multilateral cooperation now more than ever for our shared and sustainable development.”
The prime minister said that Bangladesh aspires to become a regional connectivity hub, with potential benefits for its neighbours.
Bangladesh also offers to be one of the bridges in the EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy, she said.
“We welcome Europe’s engagements in sub-regional connectivity projects in railways and roads,” she continued. Mentioning that our shared growth pursuits need to be supported by sound international security cooperation, the premier said regional platforms like ASEAN Regional Forum should help foster real-time cooperation in counter-trafficking, maritime and cyber security, and fighting terrorism.
She went on saying, “A critical test of our multilateral cooperation will be to find a lasting and peaceful solution for Myanmar’s forcibly displaced people - the Rohingyas”.
Mentioning that Bangladesh offered temporary shelter to the Rohingyas and stabilized the situation, the prime minister said, “We continue to amplify the demand for their safe and dignified return to Myanmar.”
The security situation in the Cox’s Bazar camps is getting complicated and the growing violence and crimes can soon spread beyond our borders, she said.
The prime minister said, “A provisional response to the crisis will serve little purpose. I urge the international community to give proper attention to the concerns we are raising.”
Noting that Bangladesh considers itself to be modeled after the best of Asian norms and European values, she said, “Since our early days, our commitment to multilateralism has remained constant”.
The premier said they are engaged in strategic dialogues with a number of European partners and are looking forward to becoming a Sectoral Dialogue Partner for ASEAN.
She also mentioned that, “their present lead in Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), D-8, BIMSTEC and other forums will be used for advancing our shared objectives”.
She added: “We wish to see ASEM emerge as a force for good in the international system.”
This year we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of our independence and the birth centenary of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a heavy pressure on the health systems and economies across the world, the premier said, “It has compelled us to divert our development resources for emergency treatments and vaccines.”
Sheikh Hasina said her government adopted a strategy to save both lives and livelihoods. She also said her government announced 28 stimulus packages worth 5.4 billion US dollars to offset the impacts of the pandemic.
“Our priority now is to preserve our hard-earned development gains in reducing poverty and hunger, saving mothers and children, promoting literacy and education, and ensuring safe and healthy living,” she said.
The prime minister said that their aim is to vaccinate 80 percent of Bangladesh’s target population by March 2022.
“We hope to sustain the momentum of our LDC graduation. We shall remain focused on attaining the SDGs by 2030. Our vision is to build an inclusive and prosperous nation by 2041. To achieve these goals, our partnership with Asia and Europe remains crucial,” she opined.
The premier thanked friends in Asia, Europe and the US for their donations of vaccines.
“Bangladesh has the capacity to produce quality vaccines. We seek technical know-how and licenses for the purpose,” she added.
With its 53 members (30 European and 21 Asian countries plus the EU and the ASEAN Secretariat), ASEM summit is the biggest international leaders’ gathering after the UN General Assembly.
The European group within ASEM comprises the 27 EU member states as well as Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen chaired the summit. President of the European Council, Charles Michel and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, represented the EU.
The Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansa, represented the rotating EU Council presidency.