HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden joins Bangladesh's Green Transition Dialogue

United for a Sustainable Future: Stakeholders Convene to Propel Bangladesh's Green Transition

March 21, 2024

Panelists at the Green Transition Dialogue in Dhaka discussing sustainable development and public-private partnerships.

©UNDP Bangladesh

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador attended Bangladesh’s Green Transition Dialogue in Dhaka on 21 March. Co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Embassy of Sweden, the event titled "Accelerating Bangladesh's Green Transition: Public-Private-Development Collaboration for a Sustainable Future” brought together key stakeholders from the Public, Private, and Development sectors, with an aim to propel Bangladesh's green transition efforts forward to achieve the SDGs.

With a shared vision of fostering sustainable development, the dialogue convened key stakeholders from the Public, Private, and Development sectors. Crown Princess Victoria, recognized for her strong commitment to sustainability, poverty eradication, and climate action, assumed the role of UNDP Goodwill Ambassador to advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in October last year. The Crown Princess’ presence underscores the importance of global collaboration in addressing pressing environmental challenges.

At the onset, Masrur Reaz, Founder of Policy Exchange Bangladesh, presented the keynote paper on the private sector's role in Bangladesh's green transition. Later, a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Imran Rahman, Vice Chancellor of ULAB, explored public-private-development collaboration. Panelists including Salman F. Rahman (MP), Private Industry and Investment Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister, Johan Forssell, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Ulrika Modeer, UN Assistant Secretary-General at UNDP and Sonia Bashir Kabir, Founder of SBK Tech Ventures discussed drivers, challenges, and strategies for advancing the green transition.

Salman F. Rahman, highlighted the challenges regarding the investment in the private sector. He said, “Bangladesh boasts the highest number of green-certified garments, reflecting significant investments in both green sustainability and safety. Unfortunately, despite this investment, returns on these efforts are not commensurate with the pressure exerted. While there is a growing interest among younger consumers in purchasing green and sustainable products, they are often unwilling to pay extra for them. Therefore, if we desire sustainable products, we must be open to investing and paying accordingly”.

Johan Forssell, the Swedish Minister in his remarks said, "There is an enormous amount of private money available and if we could  just channel  a percentage of that into fighting poverty that would be an enormous platform. We have slightly more than 50 Swedish companies operating in Bangladesh today. I think that is good but there is potential for more. Ihope to see  many more Swedish companies investing in Bangladesh, alongside Bangladeshi companies investing in Sweden and Europe and foster this partnership.”

Ulrika Modeer, UN Assistant Secretary-General said, “What Bangladesh is doing is really remarkable in its development journey, as we know. Additionally, Bangladesh is also bearing the major burnt of problems not caused by its people. This underscores the importance of solidarity, as we are all in this together. Hence, we need the United Nations' platforms to remain united in negotiating solutions for both climate change and biodiversity. It's crucial that we come together, exhibit ambition, and fulfill the commitments we have made."

Regarding the responsibility of private sector, Sonia Bashir Kabir said, "In Bangladesh, the private sector needs to take the lead in  innovation and the policy should follow. I believe in the sentiment echoed by Kennedy , "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Therefore the responsibility lies with us the private sector, in partnership with others.”

Among others, participants from different private sector companies such as Grameenphone Ltd., Volvo, Unilever, H&M, Ericsson, Scania, Atlas Copco & Marico were present along with representatives from the government and development partners.

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