Bangladesh and France today issued a joint statement following the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The verbatim of the joint statement is as below –
Bangladesh and France share a deep-seated friendship, based on shared democratic values, promotion of human rights, sustaining peace and sustainable development.
This friendship is rooted in multi-layered historical ties that notably saw Andr, Malraux, France’s former Minister of Culture, launch his memorable call for supporting Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971 and his subsequent meeting with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka in April 1973.
Building on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to France in November 2021, at her invitation, President Emmanuel Macron paid a bilateral visit to Bangladesh from 10-11 September 2023.
The President of France and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh met today in Dhaka to give a strong impetus to the bilateral relations, and stated their common conviction to develop a trusted and meaningful partnership fostering strategic autonomy – in support of global peace and security, resilience and prosperity, and people-centric connectivity.
1.Partnership for resilience and prosperity Bangladesh and France believe in the strength of bilateral and international cooperation in the face of the climate emergency.
Following up on the Paris Summit for a New Global Finance Pact, whose recommendations Bangladesh endorses, Bangladesh and France jointly call for the swift implementation of the Paris Pact for People and the Planet and for the mobilization of additional financing from all sources for development, climate and biodiversity.
Both countries recognize the need for a more inclusive governance of the global financing architecture, following four key principles: ensuring that no country should have to choose between fighting poverty and conserving the planet; guaranteeing country ownership of transition strategies; delivering a financial stimulus with enhanced and predictable resources to support vulnerable economies; and mobilising additional private capital to achieve a net-zero and nature-positive world.
Bangladesh and France believe global efforts to facilitate access to climate finance for developing countries should be accelerated further. France will continue to support vulnerable countries in facing extreme events and responding to loss and damage, including through the V20-G7 Global Shield against Climate Risks of which Bangladesh is a priority country, and through the further implementation of climate-resilient debt clauses.
Bangladesh and France support the operationalization of the new funding arrangements, including a fund for assisting developing countries vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in responding to loss and damage.
France reasserted its will to support the aspirations of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, in particular by promoting the use of the notion of vulnerability and fine-tuning it towards resilience and prosperity in all relevant fora, including multilateral development banks.
Bangladesh and France agree to join their efforts to ensure a result-oriented COP28 in Dubai this year. They share the expectation to chart a course at COP28 towards an urgent transition to a climate resilient world, including through investments in renewable and clean energy.
They reiterate the necessity to accelerate the global energy transition away from fossil fuels, and to set and meet ambitious targets for renewable energy production and energy efficiency around the world, while ensuring that this transition is just and equitable.
France reiterates its aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and move away from its dependency on fossil fuels, while Bangladesh underscores the need for a sustained collaborative approach to support its energy transition efforts through access to affordable finances and technologies.
Bangladesh and France observe that climate change and supply chain disruptions are having a disastrous toll on food sovereignty, food security and nutrition worldwide.
Bangladesh and France agree to strengthen their cooperation in sustainable and resilient food and agriculture systems in support of food security through regular dialogues. In this regard, France appreciates Bangladesh’s joining the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) initiative led by France.
Bangladesh deeply appreciates France’s development cooperation support in various areas, e.g. from water treatment to clean energy, from urban development to inclusive health services, featuring climate-oriented projects. A $200 million financing agreement was signed today with the French Agency for Development alongside the Government of Bangladesh and the Asian Development Bank to support the urban development of more than 86 municipalities across Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and France stress the importance of the crucial ecosystem services provided by forests and wetlands and commit to deepening their cooperation to conserve and expand Bangladesh’s rich mangroves that are vital reserves of both biodiversity and carbon. France appreciates Bangladesh’s continued efforts in conserving its mangrove forest in the southwest region and the biodiversity therein.
Bangladesh and France are also determined to step up their joint efforts ahead of the UN conference on Oceans, co-chaired by France and Costa Rica, to be held in Nice in 2025.
Bangladesh invites France to jointly explore ventures in leveraging marine resources in the Bay of Bengal in a sustainable manner.
They welcome the adoption of the Agreement under UNCLOS on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction in August 2023.
Both countries reiterate their interest in expanding bilateral trade and exploring potentials for investment in quality and resilient infrastructure development in Bangladesh, including in the railway sector.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the President of the French Republic express the hope that Bangladesh-France Investment Summit to be held on 23 and 25 October 2023 in Paris and Toulouse would inject new impetus to bilateral trade and investment relations.
France expresses its confidence in the economic prospects offered by Bangladesh for shared growth and inclusive development.
They recall the depth of their economic partnership, spanning every sector from industry to services, and express their willingness to further deepen and widen it through business-to-business collaboration.
France lauds the adoption of the National Action Plan on the Labour sector of Bangladesh (2021-2026) and stresses the importance of its implementation and the diversification of Bangladesh’s economy in order to facilitate a smooth and sustainable transition under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union.
2. Partnership for strategic autonomy, peace and security
Bangladesh and France reaffirm their unwavering commitment to international law and the UN Charter, notably the principle of peaceful resolution of conflicts, and an abiding faith in multilateralism.
In that regard, France and Bangladesh reiterate their commitment to territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations. They affirm that the war inUkraine constitutes a violation of international law, in particular of the UN Charter and is a serious threat to the rules-based international order.
They express their support for all efforts towards the establishment of a just and lasting peace in line with the principles of the UN Charter. They express concern over the global consequences of the war – be it financial, economic and on food and energy security – bearing on all nations,and state their readiness to engage together in order to address those challenges.
France appreciates Bangladesh’s leading contribution to the UN peacekeeping and peace building processes, particularly in Africa. Bangladesh and France reiterate their support for UN peacekeeping operations and express their willingness to regularly consult on mission mandates and their implementation in relevant contexts.
Both countries condemn unconstitutional change of government and unlawful military takeover in any country, and call for urgent and unimpeded humanitarian assistance for those displaced due to conflicts, violence and atrocity crimes.
France commends Bangladesh’s generosity in providing shelter and humanitarian support to the forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar over the years.
Both countries reiterate their commitment to maintaining the situation and repatriation of Rohingyas high on the international agenda and the need to create conditions inside Myanmar that allow for their voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return to their ancestral homeland at an early date.
France announces its decision to intervene, along with other partners, in the Gambia v. Myanmar case before the International Court of Justice, in support of the international efforts to ensure justice and accountability.
Bangladesh urges France to help mobilize adequate international support for the UN’s Joint Response Plan to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis. In this context, France announces an additional contribution of one million Euros to the World Food Programme’s activities in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.
As two resident powers in the Indian Ocean, Bangladesh and France reiterate their vision of a free, open, inclusive, secure and peaceful Indo-Pacific.
They are determined to deepen cooperation among the members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, building on the impetus given by Bangladesh’s presidency of the organization, and state their willingness to cooperate with other like-minded countries in the region.
Both countries express their common endeavor to maintaining the region free of illegal traffics, illicit fishing and favoring freedom of trade and navigation. They recall the port call at Chattogram by FS Surcouf, a French Frigate deployed in the Indian Ocean, in July 2023.
Bangladesh and France also take note of the progress with implementing the EU-Bangladesh Standard Operating Procedures for the Identification and Return of Persons without an Authorisation to Stay, and decide to enhance cooperation to address the challenges related to irregular migration flows, including people’s smuggling and trafficking in persons.
Bangladesh and France recall the Letter of Intent on Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Defence signed between the two governments during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to France in November 2021 and state their willingness to step up defence cooperation, with a focus on naval, air and terrestrial capacity, including equipment and transfer of technology, in support of Bangladesh’s strategic autonomy.
Both countries support the strengthening of cooperation on non-traditional security issues, notably cooperation on maritime domain awareness under the CRIMARIO programme.
Bangladesh and France regard sovereignty and strategic autonomy as key principles for a stable, multi-polar world. Both countries therefore welcome enhanced cooperation in strategic sectors.
France thanks Bangladesh for its commitment concerning the acquisition of 10 A350 from Airbus. The two countries underline as well the importance of continued cooperation on improved air traffic management in all airports of Bangladesh.
Likewise, as a contribution to the 2041 Vision of a Smart Bangladesh,the two countries welcome the conclusion of a space partnership between Airbus DS and Bangladesh Satellite Company Ltd.(BSCL) that will strengthen Bangladesh’s position as a Space nation after it masters its own sovereign earth-observation satellite.
Bangladesh and France agree to cooperate in the fields of ICT and digital technology, including artificial intelligence. In this regard, France invites Bangladesh to consider joining initiatives such as the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence.
They also stress the importance of joining their efforts towards an enhanced management of cyber security issues for a global, open and secure cyberspace governed by international law. France will work towards identification of technical assistance to Bangladesh in dealing with cyber security threats and will work together on the Global Digital Compact under the aegis of the UN.
3. Partnership for people-centric connectivity, including through civil societies Bangladesh and France regard culture as a major asset to underpin a strong, renewed people-centric connectivity.
They commend their long-standing cooperation in the field of archaeology, particularly through the unique Mahasthangarh archaeological mission, and agree to discuss other possible excavation and restoration missions.
Both countries acknowledge interest in further developing their cultural cooperation, and note the major role played by the Alliances FranOaises in Dhaka and Chattogram in that regard.
Both countries recognize the importance of multilingualism and commit to promoting the learning of the French language in Bangladesh and the Bangla language in France.
France agrees to provide diplomatic and French language training in France for the young diplomats of Bangladesh. Bangladesh and France agree to continue their mutual cooperation within the UNESCO, including for promoting a Culture of Peace.
Bangladesh and France wish to strengthen their scientific, technological and research cooperation and welcome the deployment of a French oceanography expert at the International Centre for Ocean Governance at Dhaka University as a means to bolster research cooperation in this crucial field.
Both countries reiterate their willingness to encourage more student, teacher and academics exchanges, including through training human resources at the higher educational and post-graduate level in diverse fields, with a focus on priority topics such as architecture, engineering, medicine, oceanography, seismology, climate action, sustainable tourism and development studies.
The French Indian Health Campus in which the University, de La Reunion is involved can also contribute to this objective.
Bangladesh and France commit to launch regular high-level dialogues to deepen the strategic dimension of their partnership. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the President of France agree to work towards taking the Partnership for Peace, Prosperity and People to a strategic level.