Deputy Director General, Development Cooperation Implementation Division (DCID), Department of Roads, Nepal
Former Minister of Information and Communication, Government of Nepal
Nepal-Bangladesh Business Forum (NBBF) is the joint initiative of the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA) and Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Nepal, primarily, to promote and strengthen bilateral economic cooperation between Nepal and Bangladesh. With hugely successful two previous editions of NBBF, AIDIA in collaboration of Embassy of Bangladesh is hosting 3rd Nepal-Bangladesh Business Forum in the theme "Navigating the Next Phase of Socioeconomic Cooperation" on 28 March 2019. The 3rd NBBF focuses on two major issues; strengthening media cooperation and expanding multimodal connectivity.
In-depth and on-the-spot media coverage will promote the better understanding of the matters of mutual bilateral concern and there are ample of such common concerns between Nepal and Bangladesh. In 2018, the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of UN had accepted Nepal’s request to withhold its LDC graduation and declared Bangladesh eligibility to graduate from LDC for the first time. Bangladesh had met all three criteria and is more likely to graduate from the LDC category in 2024 whereas Nepal only met the two criteria and still lagged far behind the UN's graduation threshold for GNI per capita. Nepal can learn from the impressive economic growth of Bangladesh. It is also imperative for both countries to share the respective strategies planning for graduation, smooth transition and tackling possible post-graduation challenges.
Moreover, media cooperation between Nepal and Bangladesh is vital for fostering trade and economic relations, strengthening transport and energy connectivity, promoting tourism, educational collaboration and people-to-people contact, enhancing bilateral cooperation in common platforms like SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN , exchanging the respective climate policy paradigms (CPPs) among others. The Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) and Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) recently agreed for regular exchange of news and information to further the bilateral relations. Similar partnership amid the media houses of both countries should be promoted. Importantly, interaction and exchanges of visit of the journalist from both side is paramount for in-depth and on-the-spot media coverage.
Geographically, Nepal and Bangladesh is separated by a 27-km-wide strip of Indian territory- the Siliguri Corridor. Enhancing connectivity through efficient transport infrastructure is essential to promote trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contact. It seems that both the government have long acknowledged the fact and officially signed the Trade and Transit Agreement. For instance, agreement allows Nepal to use six transit points including Mongla and Chittagong ports of Bangladesh; however, both countries have not been able to materialize all the agreements for mutual economic benefits. Thoroughly examining the existing agreement on transit and connectivity, analyzing the financial volume for infrastructure development and economic feasibility, inspecting the strategic significance and effectively implementing is essential now. Given the geographic situation, it is also truly necessary for Nepal and Bangladesh to take the confidence of India.
Session I: The Strong Media Cooperation for Enhancing Bilateral Ties
Session II: Expanding Multimodal Connectivity for Mutual Economic Growth