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UK’s Indo-Pacific minister visits Bangladesh

Published : 11 Mar 2023 02:35 AM

The UK’s Indo-Pacific Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan began her first visit to Bangladesh in her role on Friday to discuss security, democracy, human rights, trade and the Rohingya crisis.

She will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen as well as hold talks with civil society organisations, humanitarian actors, climate experts, and business groups.

As Bangladesh continues its development trajectory, the visit aims to celebrate the success and solidify the close links between the two countries for the years ahead, including through Bangladesh’s crucial election year.

The Minister will also sign the UK-Bangladesh Climate Accord which aims to enhance cooperation in climate action bilaterally and multilaterally, to help deliver the outcomes of COP26 and COP27.

“I’m delighted to visit Bangladesh, a country that has strong cultural, and economic ties with the UK,” she was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the British High Commission in Dhaka.

“The UK has been proud to stand as a close partner of Bangladesh for more than 51 years. From trade and investment to defence, climate action, and humanitarian collaboration, our relationship is rooted in our shared principles. Through my visit, I look forward to strengthening our close and valued partnership even further.”

On her visit, British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson said: “I’m pleased to welcome Anne-Marie Trevelyan in her role as the UK’s Minister for the Indo-Pacific to Bangladesh.

“The UK's historic partnership with Bangladesh is a unique and valued relationship. This visit reaffirms the UK’s commitment to Bangladesh and our shared ambitions for the future of our partnership. We will be working even more closely together on issues including trade and investment, climate, security, education and equality for women and girls, and the Rohingya crisis,” read the statement.

“I am delighted to be discussing these issues with the Honourable Prime Minister and other senior members of the Government, and to be meeting a wide range of people including in civil society and the media.” 

Minister Trevelyan will also visit Cox’s Bazar to see first-hand UK humanitarian support for Rohingya people in the camps. During her visit, she set out how the UK is supplying food for 449,000 people living in the camps this month through the World Food Programme.

In addition, UK support will go to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for pressure cookers that can help reduce the consumption of cooking gas.

She will also meet representatives of the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) to hear what GCA is doing with UK support in Bangladesh.

GCA is working to help local communities take the lead in building their resilience to climate change impacts. They are also helping source more finance for climate adaptation projects. 

The new package of funding to support Rohingya refugees totals £5.26 million. £4.26 million will be distributed through the World Food Programme and £1 million will go through the UNHCR for pressure cookers.

Since 2017, the UK has now provided £350 million to support Rohingya, and Bangladeshi host communities. This has included food, shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare - and protection services that are vital for women and girls in the camps.

The new partnership agreement on climate action is not a new programme but sets out how the UK and Bangladesh will share expertise and use the leadership and experience in taking forward the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact.