July 24, 2014
Bangladesh PM’s Uncompromising Stance for Women
Attending the first ever Girl Summit 2014, held in London on 22nd July 2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina outlined Bangladesh’s pledge to end all forms of child and early marriages by 2040. Sheikh Hasina was the only head of government invited to the event due to her long standing commitment to empowering women. The summit is aimed at mobilizing international efforts to end child, early and forced marriages.
British Prime Minister David Cameron praised the progress achieved by Bangladesh in the fields of economy and women development, and assured that UK would continue providing assistance to Sheikh Hasina’s government. The British Premier also expressed his intention of visiting Bangladesh to see the success stories for himself. The statement came as the Bangladesh PM called on her British counterpart at 10, Downing Street while visiting London for attending the Girl Summit 2014.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Bangladesh’s initiatives to protect rights of the girl children. Praising Bangladesh highly for its achievements in attaining the MDGs, Anthony Lake said whenever he sees the chart of MDGs, he finds Bangladesh 'green' in all sectors. Lauding the Prime Minister's commitment of ending child marriage in Bangladesh, the UNICEF Executive Director said his organization would work jointly with the Bangladesh government in materialising such pledge of the Prime Minister.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that a bold and secular political commitment is essential in facing a socially sensitive challenge like child marriage. She also feels alleviation of poverty and increased education and employment can bring a ‘natural’ end to child marriage. She pointed out how religious militant groups like Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazate Islam opposed Bangladesh's National Women Development Policy 2011, which was formulated by her government to give women equal status as men in all spheres of life.
International Cooperation
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the UK government to set up an international- standard testing laboratory in Bangladesh for energy solution. The request was made when UK Minister of State for International Development, Desmond Swayne, called on the Bangladesh Premier on the sidelines of the first-ever Girl Summit held in London on 22nd July 2014. The British state minister highly appreciated Bangladesh's continued success in achieving the MDGs and made a pledge to continue the DFID's assistance in the development of women and child education as well as poverty eradication.
Bangladesh has requested the United Nations (UN) to recruit Bangladeshi peacekeepers at ‘policy and commanding-level’ posts in the coming days. Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam conveyed the request to visiting Under Secretary General and Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) of the UN, Hervé Ladsous during a meeting at the Foreign Ministry. The UN under Sec-Gen highly appreciated Bangladesh’s role in the UN peacekeeping missions and especially applauded the female peacekeepers’ role. Currently, around 7,083 armed forces members and 1,758 police members, including 218 female officers, from Bangladesh are deployed in UN peacekeeping missions abroad, with plans to deploy further peacekeepers at Mali and Central African Republic.
Bangladesh-Australia two-way trade has crossed AUD 1 billion mark for the first time, with 450 million accruing from Bangladesh’s exports alone. Only a decade ago, the two-way trade was around AUD 160 million and heavily in favour of Australia. Australia extended duty-free market access to Bangladesh in 2003.
Growth and Development
Bangladesh’s progress in reducing early marriage has been praised worldwide. The proportion of women marrying in their early teens continues to decline as a result of education, employment and social awareness. Twenty years ago, 52 per cent of women were married by the age of 15 but that is now down by 17 per cent.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $125 million loan to Bangladesh for improving services and governance in municipal towns across Bangladesh. The funds are aimed at making the district towns more liveable and attractive and helping to ease population pressures in major urban centres.
Bangladesh achieved a record of 7,403 megawatts power generation for the National Grid around 9pm on July 16, 2014. The Bangladesh Awami League led government which plans to turn Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021, and a developed country by 2041, has decided to increase the power generation capacity to 34,000 megawatts by 2030 under a comprehensive power sector master plan. 58 power plants have been built in the last five years while 31 are being built currently.
South Asian Regional Cooperation
India and Bangladesh are set to start coastal shipping by this year. Trial runs between ports of the two countries are expected to begin by October 14. The two countries have agreed to conform to Indian standards of River Sea Vessels (RSV)-4 for operation of ships. India has agreed to assist Bangladesh through Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) for classification of Bangladesh vessels. Coastal trade between the two countries are expected to be commercially viable for both countries.
Maldives will recruit 225 doctors (physicians) from Bangladesh for its public hospitals. The process is ongoing to send doctors over as per the demand of the Maldives Directorate of Health Services, implemented from the Bangladesh side by the Bangladesh Overseas Employment Services Limited (BOESL).
Bhutanese High Commissioner Pema Choden has urged Bangladeshi businessmen and investors to invest in hydropower and agriculture sectors in Bhutan. The envoy sought cooperation of the Bangladesh industries minister for encouraging Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to invest in Bhutan.
Bangladesh Awami League