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Nordic nations want stronger partnership with Bangladesh

Ambassadors stationed in Dhaka tell webinar

October 01, 2022 00:00:00

Nordic ambassadors stationed in Dhaka have said their countries want to have a 'stronger and sustainable' partnership with Bangladesh exploring scopes for greater collaboration on key fronts - climate, green transition, technology transfer, healthy oceans, gender equality; trade and investment - continuing the friendship for the coming 50 years and beyond., reports UNB.

Delivering a jointly prepared keynote speech at Cosmos Dialogue, Ambassador of Sweden Alexandra Berg von Linde, Ambassador of Norway Espen Rikter Svendsen and Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen also highlighted the importance of free and fair elections in Bangladesh, multilateralism, global solidarity, international law and dignified return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group, hosted the webinar titled 'Bangladesh-Nordic Relations: Prognosis for the Partnership' as part of its ongoing Ambassador's Lecture Series which was aired on the news agency's social media on Thursday night.

Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan delivered the opening remarks while the session was chaired by Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, a renowned scholar-diplomat and former Advisor on Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Caretaker Government.

Professors at Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka Dr Imtiaz Ahmed and Dr Lailufar Yasmin spoke as discussants.

"We have made a remarkable journey together during these 50 years. Our partnership has been through challenges and successes. And we have stood firmly by Bangladesh side," said Danish Ambassador Petersen.

She said it is fair to say that the Nordics want to continue to be trusted partners - and friends - to Bangladesh.

Swedish ambassador Linde said her country wishes to position itself as a partner to Bangladesh within 'sustainability and the green transition' and at the same time continue to strengthen Bangladesh's competitiveness.

She said Sweden's efforts to promote the green transition within the trade policy goes in tandem with their different work streams within the development cooperation.

Norwegian ambassador Svendsen said ensuring that the oceans are healthy and productive for future generations is high on the agenda both in Norway and Bangladesh.

"In the coming years, the oceans will be even more important for global food security, poverty reduction, international transport, and efforts to address climate change and the environment, he said, adding that Norway hopes to work with Bangladesh on the Nordic initiative to establish a global agreement to combat marine plastic litter and microplastics.

Over the five decades, Enayetullah Khan said, the relationship between Bangladesh and the Nordic countries has grown from strength to strength.

"There is much to celebrate as we observe fifty years of our collaboration," he said, gratefully acknowledging the support of foreign friends like the governments and peoples of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Khan said Bangladesh can learn much from the Nordic experiences in tackling the climate challenges, noting that the impacts of the climate change will be much bigger than the combined impacts of Ukraine conflict and Covid-19 pandemic.

"I am very confident that our relations will grow as I see there are lots of scopes for collaboration including on the climate front," he said.

Dr Iftekhar Chowdhury said the enormous enthusiasm with which the Nordic week was celebrated recently reflects the warmth of the relationship between those Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark and Bangladesh.

Dr Imtiaz encouraged the Nordic envoys to see whether it is possible to replicate something like carbon neutral villages in Bangladesh as the Nordic countries have a strong focus on environment.

He said something of that carbon neutral islands one or two carbon neutral villages can be explored in Bangladesh just to give a model of how one can go for a carbon neutral place. "If Nordic countries can think of investing in Bangladesh….that could be a model."

Referring to Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZ) in the ocean, Lailufar Yasmin said countries like Bangladesh need technical assistance from other countries to understand this so that it does not turn into a threat to Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal region in the coming years.

She highlighted the possible collaboration in the area of deep sea fishing and said Bangladesh and other South Asian countries do not have capacities in going for deep sea fishing. "This is another area where Nordic countries have tremendous expertise. They can assist Bangladesh."

Lailufar Yasmin said the Nordic countries can work with Bangladesh closely in the shipbuilding sector.

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