U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman and Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque co-chaired the second Bangladesh-U.S. Partnership Dialogue in Dhaka May 26-27, 2013. Under Secretary Sherman conveyed Secretary Kerry's regards to the Bangladeshi people and reiterated his strong support for this important partnership. The co-chairs of the Partnership Dialogue highlighted the robust and growing bilateral ties between the United States and Bangladesh, a relationship based on shared values and common goals of the two countries and their people, including the vibrant Bangladeshi-American diaspora. They reaffirmed their commitment to further broaden, deepen, and strengthen the partnership. The co-chairs and their delegations engaged productively on a wide range of topics, including democracy and governance, trade and investment, security cooperation, and regional integration. Throughout her meetings in Dhaka, Under Secretary Sherman stressed the importance of an inclusive democratic process and free, fair and credible elections.
During the Dialogue, Under Secretary Sherman announced:
• The creation of a $2 million program, as part of President Obama’s Global Health initiative, to improve the management of deadly tuberculosis through the private health sector in Bangladesh. Funded through USAID, this program will improve the detection and treatment of tuberculosis in private sector hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.
• The creation of a new five-year, $8 million program award, as part of President Obama’s Global Climate Change initiative, to the World Bank to expand the use of solar energy in Bangladesh. Under this Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy II program, USAID is contributing to the installation of solar home systems, power grids, and irrigation pumps.
• The U.S. is funding an assessment to measure point source emissions of black carbon (soot) from select industrial sites across the country. This assessment, also part of President Obama’s Global Climate Change initiative, complements U.S.-Bangladesh collaboration on the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, of which the United States and Bangladesh are founding members.
• USAID has launched a new three-year, $7 million program to improve the economic and nutritional status of 100,000 people in southern Bangladesh. This horticulture activity, launched under President Obama’s Global Food Security initiative, will expand the production and consumption of a variety of local vegetables, increase the use of integrated pest management practices, and expand cold chain systems.
• The successful transfer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis to the Bangladesh Navy. Renamed the Somudra Joy, she is now the largest ship in the Bangladesh Navy.
• The opening of an American Business Corner at the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry which will be a repository of literature, data, and catalogues to promote U.S.-Bangladesh business ties.
• The inauguration of a $1 million U.S. assistance program for law enforcement capacity building to combat transnational crime and terrorism.
• Under Secretary Sherman welcomed the start of a bilateral energy dialogue and announced ongoing work by both governments to outline investment opportunities through the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative.
• Under Secretary Sherman and Foreign Secretary Haque announced that the United States and Bangladesh are close to finalizing an accord to extend our 2003 Agreement on Scientific and Technological (S&T) Cooperation for another decade, building upon the robust level of S&T collaboration between our two countries under the existing agreement.
• Under Secretary Sherman underscored the continued commitment of the U.S. government to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in the Bangladesh-Burma border region.
Under Secretary Sherman met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni. She also participated in a roundtable discussion with government, labor, owners and buyers on labor issues in the garment sector.
Under Secretary Sherman was accompanied to the meetings by U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Karen Hanrahan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Kelly Clements, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Robert Ichord, Principal Director to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and South East Asia Brigadier General Joaquin Malavet, State Department Political and Military Affairs Office Director Vangala Ram, and USAID Director Richard Greene.