International Cooperation and Development

Bangladesh

With 164 million inhabitants crowded on 143,998 sq km, Bangladesh is the world's 8th most densely populated state and one of its most climate vulnerable countries.

Currently listed as a least developed country, Bangladesh has made considerable socio-economic progress since its independence in 1971, and is aspiring to graduate to middle income country status by 2024.

Main development challenges include the eradication of extreme poverty and child malnutrition, rising income inequalities, youth employability, environmental degradation resulting from rapid population growth and urbanisation, and women's socio-economic status. Bangladesh is also host to some 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Our priorities

EU-Bangladesh diplomatic relations were established in 1973. In 2001, a cooperation agreement was signed which extends to trade, economic and development cooperation, human rights, good governance, and the environment. European bilateral development aid to Bangladesh for 2014-2020 amounts to € 655,000,000.

Three sectors are contributing to the achievement of the EU's strategic objectives and the country's national development priorities:

  • Human capital development
  • Food security and nutrition & Sustainable development
  • Democratic governance

The EU's development aid to Bangladesh also extends to other important areas such as migration and forced displacement, preventing violent extremism, support to civil society and human rights defenders, gender equality, labour rights, sustainable consumption and production, green growth, and climate change mitigation.

Our impact

Governance:

• Over 66,860 cases received by the strengthened village courts with resolution taking place within 6 weeks and settlements enforced in 92% of cases (Activating Village Courts programme).

• 547 community-based and civil society organisations were capacitated and trained on participation in democratic governance.

• A total of 1332 children (847 boys and 485 girls), who were in contact and conflict with the law, were diverted from police stations. Among them 1049 children (612 boys and 437 girls) were reintegrated in their families; 685 children (436 boys and 249 girls) were referred to safe shelters.

Nutrition:
• Over one million households receive support to reduce the incidence of stunting among children (Nutrition Governance grants and SUCHANA programme)

Education:
• Nearly 95,500 new teachers were recruited and 39,000 classrooms constructed, with a substantial improvement in teacher-student ratio (1:38). Teaching learning practices improved with the development of a competency-based curriculum, improved and timely distribution of textbooks and teachers' capacity building (3rd Primary Education Sector Programme (PEDP3)).

• Over 632,450 hardest-to-reach children accessed education. Children were enrolled in non-formal education or mainstreamed into formal secondary and primary schools or technical vocational education and training institutes (around 400,000) (SHARE Education programme)

Our programmes

Our bilateral programmes with Bangladesh focus on:

  • Human capital development

Support the government of Bangladesh to implement essential reforms in primary education and technical vocational education and training on quality, access and governance with the objective to achieve a better educated, trained and qualified human capital which responds to labour market needs.

  • Food security and nutrition & Sustainable development

Build resilient livelihoods and create sustained pathways out of extreme poverty and vulnerability through support in food security, nutrition, and social protection with the aim of reducing socio-economic pressures on Bangladesh's growing population.

  • Democratic governance

Support Bangladesh's efforts towards good governance, including civic engagement and accountability, public financial management reform, better planning and mobilisation of domestic resources, support to children's rights, as well as access to local justice mechanisms and support to civil society.

In addition to above-mentioned support, Bangladesh also received funds from EU thematic budgets and regional programmes.

This includes amongst others:

  • Working hand in hand with humanitarian actors for medium-term support to Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox's Bazar.
  • Responding to specific needs of Bangladeshi returnee migrants for skills development and socio-economic integration.

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns in building and leather sectors, diversification of jute products, and safe mango and tomato production with the aim of promoting green jobs, sustainable growth with low environmental impact, and poverty reduction.