Published:  12:48 AM, 09 September 2023

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Participation in the G20 Summit: Significance and Global Impact

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Participation in the G20 Summit: Significance and Global Impact

Riadunnobi Sheikh

As the world grapples with complex challenges like climate change, economic inequality, and global health crises, the importance of international cooperation and collaboration cannot be overstated. One of the platforms that exemplify this necessity is the Group of Twenty, commonly known as the G20. Bangladesh's role in the G20 is an evolving story of a nation striving to make its voice heard on the global stage while contributing meaningfully to shaping the future of our interconnected world.

The G20, which comprises 19 of the world's largest economies and the European Union, is a forum where leaders come together to address pressing global issues. It serves as a platform for dialogue and cooperation on economic, financial, and socio-political matters. Bangladesh's participation in this influential group underscores its growing significance in the international arena.While Bangladesh is not a member of the G20, it has increasingly become an influential actor in the global arena, and its inclusion in discussions concerning the group's proceedings is more relevant than ever.

Amid challenging times, India's presidency has brought the Group of Twenty (G20) into the spotlight this year, particularly for Bangladesh. Dhaka has made waves by participating in all G20 meetings, representing the only "guest country" from South Asia. For Bangladesh, this extensive engagement with the G20 during India's presidency is a significant honor, reflecting the country's growing importance on the international stage.

Adding to the importance of Bangladesh's involvement, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to attend the 18th G20 summit in New Delhi, the capital of India, on September 9-10. Her presence is considered vital to the success of the G20 this year.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is among a select group of just nine invitees, alongside the heads of states and governments of G20 member nations, who will participate in this prestigious event. On the eve of the two-day G20 Summit, the eagerly awaited bilateral meeting between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, is set to take place in New Delhi on September 8

Bangladesh, with its burgeoning population of over 160 million and a rapidly growing economy, plays an integral role in shaping regional and global dynamics. Over the past few decades, the country has experienced remarkable progress in various sectors, from poverty reduction and healthcare to infrastructure development and technological advancements. Bangladesh's emergence as a pivotal player in South Asia has been facilitated by its robust manufacturing sector, particularly in the garment industry, which has made it one of the world's largest textile exporters.

One of Bangladesh's primary contributions to the G20's discussions lies in its capacity to exemplify sustainable development in a lower-middle-income country. The nation has made significant strides in areas such as women's empowerment, access to education, and disaster preparedness. Bangladesh's experience in tackling climate change, despite being a relatively minor emitter of greenhouse gases, is particularly relevant to the G20's climate agenda. The country's vulnerability to rising sea levels and extreme weather events necessitates innovative adaptation strategies, making it a valuable source of insights for global climate discussions.

However, Bangladesh's role in the G20 extends beyond economic achievements. The nation has become a poster child for resilience in the face of climate change. Situated in a region prone to natural disasters, Bangladesh has developed innovative solutions for disaster preparedness and climate adaptation. The country's experience and expertise are invaluable to discussions within the G20, particularly when addressing the pressing issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Furthermore, Bangladesh's growing diplomatic clout in regional and international forums makes it a critical bridge between the G20 and countries in South Asia, many of which face similar development challenges. Its involvement in initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) underscores its commitment to regional integration and economic cooperation, both areas of interest for the G20.

Moreover, Bangladesh's emphasis on gender equality and women's empowerment aligns with the G20's goals of promoting inclusive growth and reducing gender disparities. Bangladesh has made significant strides in improving women's access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. These efforts serve as a model for other G20 members, reminding them of the importance of gender equity in achieving sustainable development.

Bangladesh's experience in managing one of the world's largest refugee crises, stemming from the influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, underscores the nation's commitment to humanitarian values. This crisis has brought the plight of refugees and the need for global cooperation to the forefront. Bangladesh's presence in the G20 enables it to advocate for greater international support in addressing refugee challenges and promotes the importance of finding durable solutions.

As a maritime nation with the Bay of Bengal as its "third neighbor," Bangladesh holds a vital stake in maritime affairs. The G20 emphasizes maritime trade, safety, security, and the Blue Economy. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, representing Bangladesh at the G20 summit, serves as the voice for the nation's interests in these critical maritime areas.In this forum, Sheikh Hasina can voice for Bangladesh's stance on maritime safety, security, and the Blue Economy, ensuring the nation's concerns are heard on the global stage.

However, Bangladesh's potential contributions to the G20 come with their own set of challenges. The country's governance and institutional capacity need strengthening to fully harness its potential. Addressing issues like corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, and political stability will be essential for Bangladesh to effectively represent its interests on the global stage.

Additionally, while Bangladesh has made substantial progress in economic and social development, it still grapples with issues like income inequality, inadequate access to healthcare, and environmental degradation. These challenges must be tackled comprehensively to ensure that the benefits of the country's growth are equitably distributed among its citizens.

In conclusion, Bangladesh's growing importance in the global arena and its ability to serve as a model for sustainable development make it a valuable partner for the G20. As the G20 continues to address pressing global issues, including those related to economic recovery post-pandemic and climate change mitigation, it should recognize and engage with emerging economies like Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh must also commit to addressing its internal challenges to maximize its contributions to global discussions. Collaborative efforts between the G20 and Bangladesh have the potential to create a more inclusive and prosperous world for all.

Riadunnobi Sheikh is an
International Relations
graduate and a freelance writer.

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