Bangladesh Ambassador to South Korea Abida Islam has said Bangladesh remains engaged with international forums to learn from the best practices from development partners on sustainable development goals (SDGs) where the Republic of Korea is also actively engaged.
"The government has adopted a 'whole-of-society' approach to ensure wider participation of NGOs, development partners, private sector, media and CSOs in the process of formulation of the Action Plan and Implementation of the SDGs," she told UNB in an interview.
To spearhead the process, she said: “SDGs Implementation and Monitoring Committee has been formed at the Prime Minister's Office to facilitate and implement the action plan of the SDGs.”
The Ambassador said Bangladesh has earned many international accolades for its achievements in the MDGs.
"As part of our commitment to implement the SDGs, Bangladesh took part in the Voluntary National Review at the UN High Level Political Forum," she said.
Ambassador Abida said the government of Bangladesh has envisioned transforming itself into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
Bangladesh has already translated this vision into an actionable agenda by formulating Perspective Plan (2010-2021) and two Five Year Plans (FYPs).
"Bangladesh integrated the 2030 Agenda in its 7th FYP (2016-2020). This offered a tremendous opportunity to implement the 2030 Agenda, while reflecting the priorities of the SDGs in the national plan," said the envoy.
Responding to a question, the ambassador said Bangladesh deeply values its bilateral relationship with South Korea.
"It's our important development partner, one of the largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment and also an attractive destination for our workers," she said.
The ambassador mentioned that this friendly country has been assisting Bangladesh in a wide range of areas that include trade, investment, infrastructure development, science and technology, human resources development, technical cooperation, education, cultural, health and defence. "It's also an attractive destination for our semiskilled manpower."
She said although Bangladesh and Korea have exchanged a number of high-level visits from Bangladesh, the visit of a Korean President is yet to take place.
However, the ambassador said, arranging a VVIP visit from the ROK is the top priority of the Embassy.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Korea in 2010. Korea has not reciprocated this visit yet.
"I extended the invitation of our President to Korean President Moon Jae-in during the presentation my credentials in January this year," said the Bangladesh ambassador.
She said they will further discuss the possibility of the visit during the foreign office consultation (FOC), which is expected to take place this year.
South Korea is now preoccupied with the 3rd Inter-Korean Dialogue in April and US-North Korea Summit at the end of May 2018. It seems two countries will have to wait for some time to see a VVIP visit to Bangladesh.
Responding to a question on Rohingya issue, Ambassador Abida said South Korea has provided its political support during the 3rd Committee Resolution in the 72nd UNGA that included human rights in Myanmar and also at the 27th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population and other minorities in the Rakhine Sate of Myanmar.
"We deeply appreciate that and are also thankful to the government of Korea for its humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya people," said the ambassador hoping that this political support will continue in the coming days.