This brings tidings of hopeful futures and demonstrates the possibility of developing a long-standing relationship with the UK
The advent of Bangladesh’s increased connectivity with the city of Manchester has created yet another means of improving relations with the UK as it further commits to improving its climate health.
In the immediate aftermath of COP26, the Bangladesh Ministry of Rail, led by Nurul Islam Sujan, and his delegation – in the presence of Saida Muna Tasneem the Bangladesh High Commissioner and UK MPs Greg Smith, and Stephen Hammond – have agreed to take important steps develop the Bangladesh Railway with a patented British technology to deliver lower cost, lower carbon, with cleaner air to deliver a sustainable evolution of the rail system.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in an op-ed in October last year in the Financial Times, called for a climate prosperity plan.
She said Bangladesh was “committed to leading the path to a solution” to fight climate change “not only because we wish to avert the worst of climate change, it also makes economic sense.”
She further emphasized “investing in zero-carbon growth is the best way to create jobs across the economy and ensure that our nation becomes more prosperous. We will enhance resilience, grow our economy, create jobs and expand opportunities for our citizens, using action on climate change as the catalyst. We will empower banks to offer favourable terms to fossil fuel-free infrastructure projects, and pursue co-operation with developed nations in areas such as green hydrogen”
Bangladesh expects to double its economy to $409 billion by 2031 and become a middle-income country.
From agriculture to industry or from energy production to reducing carbon emission, the implementation of efficient and greener technology will be the key for development. But Bangladesh will need huge investment to deliver this, the opinion piece also mentioned.
In a historic move, the rail minister and his team engaged G-volution, a British company, to deliver a feasibility report, to be followed by a pilot project that can revolutionize the entire Bangladesh Transport system.
This ‘Tiger from the Bengal’ will now lead the rest of the world in addressing climate change and reducing carbon (and cost) while delivering clean air, while demonstrating leadership on the pathway to net zero.
In the era of post-Brexit, this is an opportunity for the UK government and its Department of International Trade to lead the world in green technology in supporting such projects with green finance, in collaboration with the UKEF.
This environmental technological export opportunity can deliver a strong political and economic relationship between Bangladesh and Britain, for the first time in the lifetime of this nation.
The British team and their delegation at the invitation of the rail minister will be visiting Bangladesh later this month to complete a feasibility study with the intention of converting the entire fleet to lower carbon technology, delivering lower running costs and cleaner air, sustainably.
This brings tidings of hopeful futures and demonstrates the possibility of developing a long-standing relationship with the UK.
Bangladesh’s infrastructure continues to grow under the stewardship of the prime minister and her cabinet, this is yet another step towards a sustainable future in advancing the nation’s transportation services.
The opportunity will not only ameliorate the pressures on our existing railway structures, but will also help us improve communications throughout the nation, improving mobility and opportunities for a large portion of the population.
The author is research associate at the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) at Brac University.