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John Kerry`s Dhaka Visit: Revitalizing US-Bangladesh Cooperation

Shining Editorial || shiningbd

Published: 04:22, 14 April 2021   Update: 04:23, 14 April 2021
John Kerry`s Dhaka Visit: Revitalizing US-Bangladesh Cooperation

Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Prime Minister’s Office on August 29, 2016 for the first time (Source: PMO)

As a part of his a 3-nation tour of UAE, India and Bangladesh between 1 and 9 April, US climate envoy John Kerry visited Bangladesh on 9 April to discuss climate change issues.

The major point of discussion was the upcoming US President Joe Biden’s upcoming Leaders’ Summit, a 40-nation meeting on climate scheduled to be held between 22 and 23 April, and the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-26), slated for 1-12 November in Glasgow.

It was John Kerry’s second visit to Bangladesh with the first one being in 2016 as a Secretary of State of Obama Administration. The US now places great importance to Bangladesh because of its strategic position in the Bay of Bengal and booming economy.

The growing geo-economic importance of Bangladesh is accelerating its importance in the foreign policy of the USA. As a part of building more friendly relations between the two countries, a series of visits of US diplomatic personnel took place in recent years.

Recently, in October 2020, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E Biegun visited Bangladesh and stated that the United States considers Bangladesh a key partner in the region. Later this month (April 22-23), US President Joe Biden invited 40 countries, including Bangladesh, India and China, to take part in the upcoming White House Global Climate Summit.

John Kerry, in his visit, invited Bangladesh to the summit and acknowledged the priorities of Bangladesh. Pakistan, which is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and considered as a strategic partner of the US, was left off the invitation list as well as excluded from Kerry’s planned Asia trip.

Thus, the trip to Bangladesh illustrates the importance of Bangladesh in US foreign policy. During his trip, John Kerry also lauded Bangladesh for sheltering 1.1 million Rohingyas and also highlighted the need for repatriation of the forcibly displaced people of Myanmar.

This visit demonstrates the commitment of the Biden administration to give priority to climate change policy. Addressing the effects of climate change was one of the election manifests of the Biden administration with which it consolidated power in the 59th US election. The US under Biden administration is expected to announce new, ambitious 2030 emissions targets under the Paris Agreement, and will encourage “leaders to use the summit as an opportunity to outline how their countries also will contribute to stronger climate ambition”.

Biden’s massive US$2 trillion announcement in clean technology, energy and infrastructure will be the finest initiative by any world leader to address climate change and global warming issues.

Climate change and global warming issues are global challenges that need international cooperation. To conclude, Climate change is a major concern for Bangladesh as it is a low lying riverine country. Bangladesh is among the countries that are most susceptible to global warming.

So, the summit will provide a platform for Bangladesh to address the adverse environmental issues and to work on the US-Bangladesh collaboration in that connection. As the Biden administration is pro-environmentalist, unlike the Trump administration, it is expected that the summit on climate change will accentuate stronger climate action and sustainable development concentrating on the “mitigation, adaptation and resilience”.

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