G7 summit in Ise-Shima: How Bangladesh fits into the outreach meetings

The much-discussed two-day-long Group of 7 (G7) summit began in Japan on Thursday, with the focus on the creaky global economy, terrorism, refugees, China's controversial maritime claims, and a possible EU Brexit.

Heads of state and government from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and host Japan met in Ise-Shima, a mountainous, sparsely populated area around 300 kilometres southwest of Tokyo.

Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina. Reuters

File image of Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina. Reuters

The G7, formed in the 1970s, is the group of the seven major developed countries in the world. As a result of this fact, the group has often been criticised and has been viewed as an "elite club". "The rich country club is embarrassingly finding its clout declining as the global political and economic landscape changes," says this Xinhua article.

One of the events planned during the G7 summit, which gathers importance in the light of the "elite club" criticism that the group faces, is the series of G7 outreach meetings.

According to the European Commission, "a number of third country heads of state and government, as well as chairpersons of international organisations" will participate in the outreach meetings, which will focus on growth and welfare in Asia. In another session of the outreach meetings, the participants will talk about the Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on Africa.

The participants include heads of state and government of Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea.

Bangladesh will play a significant role in the outreach meetings. The country's prime minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the discussion on four important issues: Health, women empowerment, achieving sustainable development goals and cooperation in building advanced infrastructure, according to The Daily Star.

Another report in bdnews24.com added that Bangladeshi foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said that this was the first time on Japan's initiative that seven other leaders, including those from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam had been invited to discuss "contemporary issues".

He added that it was because of Hasina's "visible leadership role" on issues like the sustainable development agenda, climate change, migration and the UN's global initiative that she had been invited for the outreach meetings.

Hasina will attend the G7 outreach programme at Shima Kanko Hotel and deliver her speech on Friday, according to Prothom Alo. She will then deliver another speech at a working lunch with the other outreach leaders and have a meeting with British prime minister David Cameron.

The two leaders had exchanged letters after Britain had imposed a ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to London. They may also discuss this issue during the meeting, according to The Daily Star report.

Hasina will also hold talks with Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Her presence in Ise-Shima provides Bangladesh a platform from which to be heard and Hasina will undoubtedly seek to make the most of it.


Published Date: May 26, 2016 12:18 pm | Updated Date: May 26, 2016 12:18 pm


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