The relations between our two countries and the people of Bangladesh and Switzerland are very cordial, strong and historic. Bangladesh is on an impressive path of social and economic transformation and Switzerland has been a committed partner in this journey for decades. This is demonstrated by constantly growing bilateral economic relations between the two countries and increasing investments from the Swiss private sector. At the same time Switzerland continues to invest in smart and innovative ways in the achievement of the SDGs in Bangladesh together with the government of Bangladesh, civil society and the private sector.
At the same time, our political relations have also grown stronger. In April this year, the biennial political consultations between Switzerland and Bangladesh were held in Dhaka, where the two countries discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the areas of politics, economy and international cooperation, in line with commitments made by the leaders of the two countries during the Swiss presidential visit to Bangladesh in 2018. I am absolutely confident that the multi-faceted cooperation and partnership bonds between Switzerland and Bangladesh will be further strengthened in the days to come.
Mankind faces enormous challenges – migration, climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and hunger, to name but a few. In our globalised world, these problems cannot be solved by individual states. The international community has therefore established a framework to promote common solutions: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Central to this international agreement are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) setting out social, economic and environmental milestones to be reached worldwide by 2030. They apply to all countries, including Switzerland and Bangladesh. Switzerland aims to further foster collaboration with Bangladesh on SDGs.
Switzerland’s international cooperation with Bangladesh is essentially aligned with Bangladesh’s priorities for SDGs. In this spirit, Switzerland will continue to promote human and social capital development in this country as well as the voice and rights of particularly poor and disadvantaged women and men for improving their wellbeing and equal participation in the society. Bangladesh has attained impressive socio-economic achievements over the last decades in various sectors. Bangladesh is often regarded as a “miracle case”. Switzerland firmly stands beside Bangladesh in its journey for a prosperous, inclusive and rights based society, leaving no one behind.
The Embassy of Switzerland recently organised a roundtable event on people’s participation, democracy and local governance to talk about features of democracy in Switzerland and Bangladesh. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to democracy. Nevertheless, the universal tenets of democratic practices and the intrinsic values such as consensus-building, citizens’ participation, inclusion, gender equality are imperative to uphold democracy and consequently to contribute to achieving the SDGs.
Looking ahead, I strongly believe that Switzerland and Bangladesh will continue to foster closer cooperation in the areas of socio-economic developments. Switzerland has a strong focus on innovation and R&D. Thereby, I see great potentials for Swiss and Bangladeshi companies entering into collaboration to develop technological solutions jointly in the coming years. We need to also identify new areas of economic cooperation, such as clean-tech, biotech and renewable energy etc., where the two countries can mutually benefit from the collaboration. I further hope that Switzerland and Bangladesh will continue to work closely in various multinational fora and face global challenges together.
For the last four and a half decade Switzerland has remained as a strong and committed development and economic partner of Bangladesh introducing innovation, new ideas and solutions. It is my endeavour and honour to contribute to the continuation and strengthening of such good cooperation between our two friendly countries. I take this opportunity to convey my sincere wishes to the people of Bangladesh for development, progress and prosperity.