Development cooperation

European Union assistance to Bangladesh dates from the beginning of EC-Bangladesh relations.

(Note: In this part of the website we discuss themes and issues concerning EU assistance to Bangladesh. Particular assistance projects are discussed in greater detail the separate section on Projects)

When EC cooperation with Bangladesh was established in 1973, it was primarily concerned with emergency humanitarian aid in view of Bangladesh’s vulnerability to floods and cyclones. This cooperation has evolved quite significantly over time. While humanitarian assistance continues to be an important part of EU aid to Bangladesh, delivered through the European Commission's Humanitarian Office DG ECHO, the emphasis is now on development cooperation in social services (health and education), trade promotion and private sector development, good governance, food security, environment, disaster risk reduction and climate change. The impacts that have been achieved through EU-funded activities are a testament to the fruitfulness of the EU-Bangladesh partnership.

Bangladesh is a beneficiary of a country-specific allocation under the EU’s Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). In addition, the country has benefited substantially from the EU’s thematic budget lines for worldwide action in the fields of food security, promotion of human rights, reinforcement of non-state actors, climate change, empowerment of women and other policy priorities.

Current cooperation between the EU and Bangladesh is based on a 7-year bilateral cooperation strategy (2007-2013), for which the starting point was Bangladesh’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and its efforts towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As far as the DCI country allocation is concerned, the cooperation strategy is translated into multi-annual indicative programmes (MIPs) and annual action plans. All are agreed between the EU (with an approval process involving EU Member States’ governments) and the Government of Bangladesh. Particular care is taken that strategies and actions are well coordinated and consulted on with all other parties which have a stake in Bangladesh’s development, in particular civil society organisations, including the private sector, and other development partners active in the country.

EU assistance to Bangladesh, which is administered by the European Commission, is made up of contributions from all 27 Member States of the European Union. The Commission and Member States closely coordinate all issues related to policies and cooperation. In addition, some of the EU Member States administer separate bilateral assistance to Bangladesh through their own bilateral arrangements. As of July 2012 these included:

  • Denmark: Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)
  • Germany: GIZ and KfW
  • Netherlands: Royal Netherlands Embassy
  • Sweden: Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
  • United Kingdom: Department for International Development (DFID)

Total EU (Member States bilaterally & EC) payments to development aid activities in Bangladesh in 2011 amounted to about 500 million euros.

Bangladesh also receives EU assistance in the form of Regional Cooperation to Asia, for example through the SWITCH Asia programme.