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50 years of diplomatic relations with BGD

50 years of diplomatic relations with BGD

50 years of diplomatic relations with BGD, © German Embassy, Dhaka

03.02.2022 - Article

Half a century of diplomatic relations with Bangladesh

In 1972, Germany was one of the first countries in Europe to recognize the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Today, the focus of the bilateral cooperation lies on managing the consequences of climate change, as well as ways to achieve sustainable economic growth and stability in the region.

On 4 February 1972, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dhaka sent a Verbal Note to the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Bangladesh, which 11 months earlier had declared its independence from Pakistan. Content of the Verbal Note: The diplomatic recognition of the People's Republic of Bangladesh and the proposal to establish diplomatic relations. Almost two weeks earlier, the German Democratic Republic had established diplomatic relations with Bangladesh. Germany was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh's independence. In the following five decades, friendly and multifaceted relationships have developed. In a rapidly developing region, Bangladesh is now an important economic and political partner for Germany.

Cooperation in combating the consequences of climate change and in climate protection

With more than 164 million inhabitants, Bangladesh is the eighth largest country in the world in terms of population. This makes it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The economy of the up-and-coming country continues to grow rapidly, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the poverty rate has been halved since 2000. By 2026, Bangladesh will have officially left the status of a Least Developed Country (LDC), and by 2041, the country aims to become a high-income industrialized country (HIC).

For 50 years, Germany has been working closely with Bangladesh in development cooperation. Germany has contributed around 3 billion euros to bilateral development projects. The next bilateral consultations are scheduled for this year.

The focus of the cooperation is adaptation to the consequences of climate change and climate protection measures aimed at making Bangladesh's dynamic growth sustainable.

In addition, Bangladesh is a pilot country for the Federal Foreign Office in which it is successfully supporting measures for early warning and risk prevention in the event of natural disasters. Bangladesh is already exposed to a number of hydrometeorological and seismic risks and is increasingly having to cope with the consequences of climate change. 10% of the country is no more than one meter above sea level, and around 25 million people live in the coastal regions. Their livelihoods are threatened by flooding, monsoon storms and soil salination.

Shared responsibility for sustainability and social standards

Bangladesh's economic success is primarily based on its textile industry, which accounts for 10% of the gross national product and 80% of the export earnings - Bangladesh is the world's second largest exporter of textiles. Germany, as the second largest importer of products from Bangladesh, is a close economic partner of the country. This also means that the German economy has the responsibility to work with the governments of both countries to ensure compliance with fundamental social and environmental standards in production. Germany and Bangladesh are therefore in close bilateral dialogue.

Regional stability

Despite its high population density, Bangladesh welcomed over 900,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in 2017. Their situation remains extremely difficult. With more than 700,000 residents, the camp in Cox’s Bazar is the largest refugee camp in the world. Germany supports Bangladesh’s efforts through, among others, humanitarian assistance and development cooperation funds.

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