The 10th Summit of the D-8 on Thursday hailed Dhaka’s proposals for forming a working group to tackle the economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic among the member states, and commended the initiatives related to youth and ICT.
Those issues also found a place in the 38-point ‘Dhaka Declaration’ adopted after the leaders’ meeting held virtually.
Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasised on improving connectivity among the D-8 countries to facilitate trade and investment and realise the potentials it offers.
She also underscored harnessing the power of youths through skill development, utilising the full potential of ICT, in addition to creating necessary legal, institutional and infrastructural framework.
“Three initiatives from us were commended by the D-8 leaders,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said at a briefing after the Summit.
Those are: the first-ever youth summit organised by Bangladesh, including the ICT with the youths and the proposal of forming the D-8 working group for tackling the pandemic-related economic challenges.
The Dhaka Declaration commended and supported the idea of Bangladesh to engage the youth and ensure their participation in the new reality of 4IR through hosting the first ever D-8 Youth Summit.
“If nurtured properly, the demographic asset of more than 50 per cent of the D-8 populace under 24 years of age could become the fulcrum that boosts up economic growth of the Member States.”
Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey are the other members of the D-8 which was announced officially through the Istanbul Declaration of Summit of Heads of State/Government on June 15, 1997.
Bangladesh became the chair for the next two years. Bangladesh, earlier, held the chairmanship in 1999 to 2001. This time, the responsibility comes at a time when the country is celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Independence.
Bangladesh has also fulfilled the UN criteria for graduating from the LDC Group of countries recently.
According to the Dhaka Declaration, the leaders welcomed the proposal of Bangladesh for the formation of the D-8 Working Group in order to tackle the economic adversities of the COVID-19 pandemic by identifying ongoing challenges in areas of trade and investment and coming up with proposals on addressing these challenges and charting out recommendations to address these challenges during and post pandemic scenario and decide to establish the Working Group, the first meeting of which will take place in Bangladesh.
They called upon the Member States to cooperate in negotiations with the international pharmaceutical companies manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines, which will give advantage in quantities and prices for all the D-8 Member States.
As well as called upon the Member States to consider the conduct of a feasibility study for establishing a Pandemic Diseases Fund in order to fight chronic diseases like COVID-19 and direct all the Health Ministries and public/private institutions to join hands together to make the best use of the existing well-equipped laboratories and research centers for pandemic diseases in line with the Declaration of the on-line Summit Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in Response to COVID-19, under the Theme of “United Against COVID-19 Pandemic”, and with the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions regarding COVID-19, as applicable.
They welcomed the adoption of the ‘D-8 Decennial Roadmap 2020-2030’ and stressed the importance of effective implementation of the document.
“We also urge all the stakeholders to play their role in the full implementation of the adopted Roadmap.”
The leaders also encouraged member states to explore the potentialities of a D-8 Clearing House.
Once agreed, Member States might further take up the matter with their respective Central Banks and/or other relevant authorities/agencies of the Member States to formulate the modus operandi and make necessary arrangements for the implementation of the system in conformity with national and international financial arrangements/commitments.
They encouraged the Member States to assess the feasibility of the proposed D-8 Payment Card System project, including on the requirements for the implementation of the system in conformity with national and international financial arrangements/commitments".
They invited member states to evaluate the possibility of establishing D-8 Special Economic Zones in consultation with their respective Ministries/Agencies.
“We also call for the D-8 Secretariat to convene a meeting to discuss the policy framework and regulations in establishing the D-8 Special Economic Zones; encourage Member States to explore the possibilities of developing and enhancing transport connectivity among D-8 Member States with the objective to facilitate the intra D-8 trade.”
They also encouraged member states to ratify and operationalise the Preferential Trade, the Visa and the Customs Agreements as soon as possible in order to promote and ensure substantial cooperation among the Member States in this vital sectoral track of cooperation.
They acknowledged the need for continuous and effective collaboration and discussions among Member States as a prerequisite for productive outcome and underscore the need for timely holding of technical and policy making level meetings and direct the concerned officials to honor the commitment and timelines and follow the calendar of events so that important meetings and events take place regularly.
They agreed to reinvigorate the D-8 Working Groups by enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness and encourage active participation of our relevant Ministries/Agencies in the sectoral meetings and to this end, direct the Council of Ministers to adopt the appropriate modalities.
They also supported, in principle, the idea of expanding the membership of the D-8 Organisation based on Articles 3 .and 4 of the D-8 Charter.
“We task the Commission to continue to work on the criteria and modalities for implementation of relevant provisions of the Charter on granting observer status and accession of new members.”
Nigerian Ambassador Isiaka Abdulkadir Imam will be the next Secretary-General of the D-8. Egypt will host the 11th Summit. The date will be discussed later. They thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for “successfully” hosting the 10th Summit.