In a major development, Bangladesh has decided to host the next D-8 summit virtually in the context of the Covid pandemic scenario, Bangladesh foreign ministry said on Thursday.
The summit will be held within January next year, officials said.
Dhaka conveyed this decision to the other members of the D-8 group during the Special Session of the D-8 Commissioners’ which was also held virtually on Tuesday.
The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, is an organisation for development co-operation among the following countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey.
The meeting was attended by D-8 Secretary General and D8 Commissioners of all the member states to discuss on preparation for the forthcoming 10th D8 Summit to be hosted by Bangladesh and ongoing activities and initiatives of the D-8 to combat the adverse impacts of Covid-19, said officials of the foreign ministry.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey Faruk Kaymakci, as the current Chair, and Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Masud Bin Momen, as the incoming chair.
The Foreign Secretary Momen conveyed the meeting that Bangladesh would like to host the 10th D-8 Summit and its ancillary events ‘virtually’ in December 2020 or January 2021 in the context of Covid-19 scenario.
The Summit will be followed by a Virtual Leader’s Retreat, including a virtual visit to the Rohingya Camps in Cox’s Bazaar.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary urged the D-8 Commissioners to find the right balance between taking advantage of globalisation and a necessary degree of self-reliance, while finalising the summit outcomes- Dhaka Declaration and Decennial Roadmap 2020-2030- to ensure a resilient future for common parity and prosperity of the member states.
The Co-Chair and Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey emphasised on strengthening of intra-trade among D-8 member states and in that context urged the member states to implement the D8 Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) without delay.
He stressed on the engagement of private sector, including Chambers, to realise the full potential of D-8.
He has called upon the member states to make D-8 a more dynamic, result oriented and more updated organisation to meet the challenges of our time.
D8 Secretary General in his statement highlighted the different initiatives undertaken by D-8 to stave off the adverse impact of Covid-19 on health and economies of the member states.
He also recalled his meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh during his visit to Dhaka in October 2019 where many important issues were discussed, including but not limited to the setting up D-8 special economic zones in Bangladesh, D8 Designated Airport to mention a few.
Recognising the overwhelming vitality of youths and the need for greater cooperation in the era of technological disruptions, Bangladesh proposes “Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology” as the Summit Theme.
Bangladesh also offered its readiness to host the first D-8 Youth Summit, preceding the Leaders’ Summit as one of the sideline events. Further, D-8 Trade, Technology and Innovation Fair, and D-8 Business Forum will also be hosted by Dhaka as the sideline events, foreign ministry officials said.
Bangladesh also proposed to establish a Working Group in order to review the economic adversities of Covid-19 and to come up with proposals/recommendations on early recovery in the post-pandemic scenario.
The Bangladesh foreign secretary highlighted the need for creation of a voluntary funding mechanism by the willing Member States to undertake joined up efforts to overcome the challenges in post-pandemic era.
Director General (International Organisations) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and D-8 Commissioner for Bangladesh Mohammad Khorshed A Khastagir elaborated on the preparations for the 10th D-8 Summit and sideline events. He further presented details on Bangladesh proposal for establishing a Working Group.