The ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity for SDGs Achievement in Bangladesh (SC4SDG)’ project of UNDP Bangladesh and UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals project successfully organized a high-profile consultation workshop with the private sector and other stakeholders titled “Mobilizing FDI for a Greener Energy Sector in Bangladesh” on 5 September 2021. The event was organized jointly with the General Economics Division (GED) of Bangladesh Planning Commission.
Dr. Shamsul Alam, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Planning was the Chief Guest of the event. Mr. Md. Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Ms. Nasima Begum, Member (Secretary), Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division (currently in charge of GED), Bangladesh Planning Commission attended the workshop as Special Guests. Mr. Jayendu De, Resident Representative, IMF Bangladesh and Mr. Sudipto Mukherjee, Resident Representative, UNDP, Bangladesh were present as Guests of Honor. The consultation was presided over by Mr. Md. Mafidul Islam, Chief, GED.
The former Energy Advisor of the Caretaker Government, Dr. Mohammad Tamim gave a keynote speech on the topic at the consultation workshop. Besides, Dr. Butchaiah Gadde, Technical Advisor on Energy, Policy and Innovation Unit, UNDP Cambodia gave a presentation on “Derisking Renewable Energy Investment: Cost-Efficient Public Interventions to Promote Renewable Energy Investment” as a Guest Speaker. Three distinguished discussants from the private sector attended the programme and shared their expertise on green investment with the audience.
The event had facilities for guests and participants to join in-person or online. Around 95 participants from different ministries/divisions, private sector organizations, international financial institutions, UN agencies, think tanks, and universities attended this important workshop. The consultation workshop emphasized on how investment in green energy will accelerate Bangladesh’s achievement of many of the SDGs such as poverty eradication, social inclusion, job creation, sustained economic growth, healthy functioning of the Earth’s ecosystems, etc., and enhance the general human welfare.
During the discussion, it was highlighted that insufficient resources can be a key impediment to promoting a greener energy sector and getting the maximum positive ‘synergy impact’ across the SDGs in Bangladesh. The participants including the government stakeholders agreed that the country will need to put a more systematic effort to mobilize required finance from actors beyond the government. Effective collaboration between government and other stakeholders including consultation on policy issues and active partnerships on specific green energy projects will be required. Based on the successful experiences of other countries, revitalization of global partnership and mobilization of additional financial resources from multiple sources, for instance, FDI will be needed to foster a greener energy sector in Bangladesh.
The experts added that the annual net inflow of FDI for Bangladesh is still lower than that of some of the Southeast Asian countries of a similar stage of development, e.g., Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, etc. Therefore, they suggested reviewing the current exertion of the country on FDI and implementing the FDI-related policy actions effectually, especially to transfigure the current energy sector in Bangladesh to a greener energy sector.