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.
EU-Bangladesh diplomatic relations were established in 1973. In 2001, a cooperation agreement was signed extending to trade, economic and development cooperation, human rights, good governance and the environment.
For the 2021-2027 period, our Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Bangladesh prioritises three areas
- human capital development – covering areas such as education, skills development, access to employment and social protection
- green inclusive development - focusing on the energy sector and the overall environmental footprint
- inclusive governance - covering governmental and financial institutions, and the inclusion of girls and women.
In addition, the MIP covers cross-cutting issues of migration and forced displacement, security and human rights.
Our programmes for 2021-2027 support specific objectives under the three main priority areas.
Human capital development
The specific objectives are related to improving access to full-cycle quality education, providing better employment opportunities, enhancing commitment to decent work and social protection, and improving access to skills and jobs for returning and prospective migrants. This objective has a budget of €160.5 million (52% of the total) between 2021-2024.
Green inclusive development
We aim to promote energy efficiency and affordable renewable energy and improve environmental protection and climate change support mitigation. This objective has a budget of €75 million (25% of the total) between 2021-2024.
Democratic and economic governance
Objectives include ensuring women and girls are free from all forms of gender-based violence in the workplace and public sphere, improving access to justice for disadvantaged groups, improving public services and financial management through digital governance, and improving the capacity of public authorities to manage migration. This objective has a budget of €64.3 million (21% of the total) between 2021-2024.
Support measures and Team Europe Initiatives
Team Europe Initiatives in Bangladesh support decent work initiatives (in collaboration with Sweden, France, Germany, Italy Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland) and the green energy transition (with a number of Member States including Norway and Switzerland).
The MIP will also support measures in favour of civil society, specifically in the areas of strengthening civil society organisations and the empowerment and participation of youth, girls and women. Support measures have a budget of €6.2 million (2% of the total) between 2021-2024.