Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said Bangladesh will take all pragmatic initiatives to open new avenues of cooperation among the D-8 Member States with the aim of making this Group even more vibrant, active and effective.
In order to minimise the worsening effects of Covid-19 on the world economy, Dr Momen said, Bangladesh wants to explore all avenues for economic recovery through collaboration among the D-8 Member States.
"Bangladesh believes in a free and equitable access to markets for not only products but also services. It would obviously facilitate D-8 governments and private sectors to come together to highlight how D-8 Member States can deepen connectivity, networking and collaboration in light of experiences of the Covid-l9 era," he said.
The Foreign Minister was addressing the D-8 19th Council of Ministers (COM) as Chair of the COM.
Foreign Ministers of D-8 Member States including immediate past chair and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and D-8 Secretary General Ambassador Ku Jaffar Ku Shari joined.
Since the overall objective of the global organisation is to improve Member States’ life and livelihood situation through multiple approaches, Dr Momen hoped to create a D-8 digital marketplace, and create a suitable-for-all resilient post-pandemic cooperation model to ensure the common interests of all member states.
"As the whole world is experiencing an unprecedented global public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I personally feel the urge that, we, the D-8 Member States need to stand together more than ever," he said.
After chairing the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation for two years during the period of 1999 – 2001, Bangladesh is going to hold the Chairmanship of the D-8 for the second time after two decades.
"This is happening at a time when we are celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and we are also observing the Golden Jubilee of our independence," he said.
Moreover, Dr Momen said, recently Bangladesh has fulfilled the UN criteria for graduating from the LDC Group of countries.
"We are indeed honoured and happy for having the opportunity of chairing the D-8 at this historic moment," he said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the Bangladesh delegation at the 10th D-8 Summit on Thursday to be participated by the leaders of Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hand over the Chairmanship of the D-8 to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The theme of the D-8 Summit is “Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology” and the Summit will adopt two documents “D-8 Decennial Roadmap 2020-2030” and “Dhaka Declaration 2021.”
Bangladesh is hosting the 10th D-8 (Developing-8) Summit virtually in the context of COVID-19 new normal scenario that will focus on trade, investment, mineral resources, tourism, ICT, climate and Rohingya issues.
“These are the things we’ll try to focus on through dialogue and discussions,” said Foreign Minister Dr Momen.
He said they will seek support from all for a “durable solution” to the Rohingya crisis and address the challenges posed by climate change.
On trade issues, he said there is a lot of potential to boost trade among the D-8 member states which remained untapped.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the first D-8 Summit held in 1997 and Dhaka successfully hosted the second D-8 Summit in 1999.
The D-8 aims for Economic Cooperation to improve member states’ position in the global economy, to diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, to enhance participation in decision-making at international level, and to improve standards of living.
Meanwhile, the 43rd Session of the D-8 Commission was held on April 5-6.
On April 5, D-8 Business Forum and first D-8 Youth Summit were held on the sidelines of the Summit.
The Summit will put emphasis on strengthening of intra-trade among D-8 member states and in that context will urge the member states to ensure benefits from the D8 Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) through its proper implementation.