Bangladesh Government Ministry of Finance officials visited Macquarie University to deepen their international treaty negotiation skills and understanding of international law.
With a GDP growth rate of six per cent and a vision to be a middle income country by 2021, Bangladesh’s Government has the delicate challenge of managing a fast growing economy whilst trying to protect the environment and encourage social change.
To help meet this challenge, 25 government officials from Bangladesh’s Ministry of Finance attended the specialised research program on Trade and Environmental Sustainability: ‘Building Capacity for Effective Negotiation and Participation in International Treaties for Bangladesh,’ at Macquarie University. The three week program was organised by the Macquarie Centre for Environmental Law and Access Macquarie Ltd, funded by DFAT under the Australia Awards Fellowships Scheme.
Delegates met Australian Government counterparts in Canberra and viewed the spectacular harbour light show, Vivid Sydney, and iconic Sydney sights such as the Sydney Opera House.
The series of lectures focussed on interpreting international law, understanding and negotiation of international treaties, such as the Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework, the Kyoto Protocol, EU agreement, Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The training program includes expert seminars led by global law academics, workshops and industry visits as well as addressing regional development priorities and strengthening partnerships between Australia and Bangladesh. All those selected have a pivotal role in treaty negotations and policy formation.
Ziauddin Ahmed, Deputy Secretary & Deputy Project Director Capacity Building of ERD (Economic Relations Division) Project, Ministry of Finance, organised the delegation with Pradip Royhan, Special Project Officer at the Centre for Environmental Law at the University.
“We are a recipient country so conditions are imposed upon us. We must protect Bangladesh’s interests as we negotiate,” said Ziauddin Ahmed. “We have a vision for 2021, 160 million people; a growing economy and a small land mass. It is challenging.”
Mohammad Masud Rana Chowdhury, who has an Australian masters degree in economics, agreed: “We are growing fast but it must be managed.”
Sultana Afroz, Joint Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, is a Harvard graduate and former UN representative who is focussed on policy making.
“I want to make policy that supports the Bangladesh people, and I would like to see more support for Bangladesh students to study at universities such as Macquarie University.”
The delegation highlighted the close ties between Macquarie University and Bangladesh. This is the second research and training program by the Centre for Environmental Law (CEL) funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (AusAID). The previous program, “Capacity Building for Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development,” was in February 2013, in partnership with Access Macquarie and the Ministry of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh.
Tanveer Shaheed, Senior Country Manager of South Asia, Macquarie International, says that there are more than 150 Bangladeshi students studying bachelor, master and PhD levels at Macquarie, some with scholarship support. Macquarie University also works with Bangladeshi universities.
“Macquarie provides generous scholarship schemes to its international students, including Bangladeshi students,” said Tanveer Shaheed. “Macquarie University is also part of other Australian Government international student scholarship schemes.”