Highlighted results

An additional 161,414 family farms have increased productivity and/or income.

A total of 297 adolescent friendly health service (AFHS) corners have been set up in public health facilities. The Government of Bangladesh has initiated another 400 AFHS corners.

86,789 people are benefiting from improved river basin management and safe deltas.

4,433 demonstrable links with networks, movements, action plans and inter-sectoral collaborations.

Additional sources

Factsheet Multiannual Country Strategy Bangladesh

Factsheet on the efforts of The Netherlands from 2019 to 2022


Overview of projects in Bangladesh


The Netherlands is a long-standing partner of Bangladesh. The focus in our co-operation was on the following themes: water management, water supply and sanitation (WASH), sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender, food security and nutrition, sustainable value chains and the readymade garments (RMG) sector in particular, and human rights (in particular, freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion).

Our engagement with Bangladesh takes place in a context of steady and high economic growth, and remarkable development results. Over the past 20 years, the country has made steady progress in reducing income poverty and has made significant gains in the basic conditions of people’s lives. Life expectancy rose by some 10 years between 1990 and 2010, and by four years between 2007 and 2017. Even more remarkably, the improvement in life expectancy has been as great among the poor as among the rich. Bangladesh has also made huge gains in education and health. School enrolment has increased and infant and child mortality has fallen. The poverty headcount ratio at the international poverty line of USD 1.90 a day has fallen from about 35 per cent in 2000 to about 15 per cent in 2016.

Nevertheless, Bangladesh still faces many poverty-related challenges. The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, despite increases in average annual economic growth. Moreover, the reduction has been uneven across the country. Poverty reduction in rural areas accounted for 90 per cent of the poverty reduction since 2010 and urban poverty has hardly fallen at all since that time. This trend is worrying in light of the increasing urban population.

The development of the country takes place in a context in which human rights and political space are under pressure.

Results 2019

The Netherlands has significantly contributed to the well-being, economic development and resilience of thousands of people and the country as a whole (see highlighted results). We have initiated systemic changes and development through our programmes and activities, but also via advocacy.

Some highlighted results:

The Bangladesh Deltaplan 2100 (BDP2100) signifies a new way of working for the Government of Bangladesh (GoB). Institutional changes mean that time, capacity and knowledge are required to kick off its implementation. The Netherlands actively supports the GoB by connecting Bangladeshi and Dutch knowledge institutions and business partners, for example, and by collaborating to translate the BDP2100 into an implementation process with tangible projects.

The coverage of fortified rice distribution to address micronutrient deficiency was significantly higher because of the GoB’s decision to mainstream the distribution of fortified rice in its food-based safety net programmes. This decision was triggered by the positive results of the Rice Fortification project. The Netherlands financially supports this project and partially shared the costs of kernels and the establishment of blending mills. This has so far resulted in an additional 2.5 million beneficiaries in the reporting period.

The Netherlands has always pursued a progressive SRHR agenda in Bangladesh and has advocated on sensitive issues, especially in the area of youth sexuality and youth rights. The Ministry of Education has decided to introduce the Gender Equity Movement in School (GEMS) curriculum in all public schools. Furthermore, the National Plan of Action for Adolescent Health Strategy 2017-2030 has been approved and adopted by the Government of Bangladesh with the major objective of incorporating adolescent friendly health services in all government health structures.

The Netherlands is actively involved in supporting the readymade garments (RMG) sector in transiting to sustainable business practices. The Netherlands, as part of a strong international alliance, successfully advocated against the appeal to prematurely end the work of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety (Accord) in Bangladesh. Accord is currently working closely with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association on the phase-out.

Additional funding for the World Food Programme and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) helped to strengthen the Netherlands’ advocacy role in the Rohingya crisis, in particular on finding durable solutions for the long-term (e.g. education and skills development, livelihoods and the safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation of refugees to Myanmar).

Results by theme

Food security SRHR Water Private sector development Women’s rights and gender equality

Featured project Bangladesh

Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security And Linkage (SaFal)

SaFal is a programme that is fully funded by the Netherlands and implemented by Solidaridad. Solidaridad has been implementing the second phase of the project (SaFaL‐II) since July 2017 in seven coastal districts of Bangladesh. It is having a tangible impact on agricultural productivity and promoting agri‐businesses, thereby improving income and employment opportunities for 104,000 families and the food security of more than 500,000 men, women, youths and children.

SaFaL–II promotes market linkages and trade facilitation to transform markets through business intelligence, a market decision support system and innovative business plan facilitation. The project has been strengthening market structures, which includes cluster-wise business and service centres to promote rural agri‐business and transform agricultural productivity and the food market system. By fostering backward and forward market linkages among producers and traders, markets contribute to improved access to and availability of food for consumers at local and national level, and promote rural agri‐business.

More information online

Read more about the SaFal project on OpenAid

Featured project Bangladesh

Blue-Gold Program (BGP)

Blue Gold is a joint programme between the Government of Bangladesh and the Netherlands. The programme is implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources, through the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), and by the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Department of Agricultural Extension.

Since 2013, Blue Gold has been establishing and empowering water management organisations (WMOs) to sustainably manage their water resources. Based on their priorities, the programme delivers the services for which the members of those WMOs have expressed a demand. The programme has been running in 22 coastal polders in Bangladesh and aims to reduce poverty by increasing agricultural productivity, together with physical and institutional water management. The project is directly benefiting 175,000 households and covers 115,000 hectares of agricultural land.

Blue Gold is considered to be one of the BWDB’s most successful projects, in which the integration of water management and agriculture and the collaboration between two different ministries are visible on the issues of in-polder water management. It has created an enabling environment for agricultural production by ensuring a functional water management system. The project will end in December 2021.

Website Blue-Gold Program

Read more on the Blue Gold programme

Food security

The results in context

In line with the Multi Annual Country Strategy (MACS) 2018-2022 for Bangladesh, the Netherlands is phasing out its development co-operation activities in the food and nutrition security (FNS) sector. Agriculture will be integrated into our water management programme.

With the economic transformation of Bangladesh, people’s food behaviour is changing. The country’s agriculture is gradually shifting from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. The role of the private sector is becoming more prominent in agricultural production and value chain development. The ongoing FNS programme focuses on value chain development to increase the productivity and income of smallholder farmers, on mobilisation of more private sector participation and on improving the food system as a whole. In the context of climate change adaptation, agriculture will be addressed and integrated in our water management programme.

Bangladesh is facing multi-dimensional malnutrition challenges. In spite of remarkable progress in child and maternal nutritional status in the past decade, levels of stunting, wasting and being underweight remain high in children under five years of age. Micronutrient deficiencies are also prevalent, affecting not only children under five but also pregnant and lactating women. There is also a notable increase in people being overweight or obese. Projects/programmes funded by the Netherlands have significantly contributed to addressing malnutrition challenges in Bangladesh. However, the Netherlands-supported nutrition programme is being phasing out in the new MACS.

Major results:

An additional 2,520,983 people gained access to adequately fortified food

An additional 650,834 people with improved food intake

An additional 161,414 family farms with increased productivity and/or income

Among other factors, these results can be attributed to:

mainstreaming of the distribution of fortified rice through the GoB’s safety net programme

improved access to quality agricultural inputs and improved farm technology for smallholder farmers

improved access to markets and better prices

feminisation of agriculture

women’s empowerment, leading to diversification of food production and diets, as well as better sharing of available food in the family

ecological sustainability, improved water and polder management, and climate resilient agriculture/adaptation

more involvement of the private sector in developing value chains.


The results in context

The Netherlands has always pursued a progressive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) agenda in Bangladesh and persistently advocates on sensitive issues, especially in the area of youth sexuality and rights. In line with the Multi Annual Country Strategy (MACS) 2018-2022 for Bangladesh, the Netherlands is phasing out its development co-operation activities in this area. Our policy agenda will continue to be pursued through advocacy.

Projects like Unite for Body Rights (UBR), Nirapod 2 and ADOHEARTS have created safe spaces for adolescents (aged 10-19 years) to address SRHR and HIV/AIDS issues. To ensure sustainability and wider impact, the focus is now on creating adolescent friendly health service (AFHS) corners in existing government health facilities.

Other projects are deeply involved in providing comprehensive sexuality education in various types of education institutes. Curricula like ‘Me and My World’ (MMW by UBR), Gender Equality Movement in Schools (GEMS by Generation Breakthrough), Know yourself (Nijeke Jano by Nirapod) and Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM by RITU) cover SRHR issues for adolescents and young people. These are implemented in more than 1,000 schools and madrashas in Bangladesh. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has decided to introduce the GEMS curriculum in all public education institutes. At the moment, the same curriculum is already being used by UNFPA and MoE with other funds in a further 250 schools and also in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The Netherlands also continues to focus on issues like menstrual regulation, menstrual hygiene management, HIV/AIDS, youth empowerment with meaningful participation and leadership development, and RMG workers’ health and well-being through inclusive business models, etc. Since activities in this area are being phased out, increased emphasis is being placed on sustainability and the wider impact of interventions. Hence, projects are working more closely with relevant government departments and focusing on joint advocacy with other SRHR stakeholders.

Through its involvement in the national Health Population Nutrition Sector Programme , the Netherlands, along with like-minded donors and the UN, has succeeded in incorporating SRHR indicators in the relevant Operational Plans of the 4th sector wide-approach (SWAp). As a member of the donor consortium and with a relatively small contribution to the SWAp, the Netherlands has gained a position to pursue and realise its policy goals throughout the health sector.



Number of health facilities that adopt and implement youth-friendly SRHR and HIV/AIDS services


188 AFHS corners


On track

Dutch-funded projects have introduced adolescent friendly health service (AFHS) corners in existing government health facilities. Projects like UBR, Nirapod and ADOHEARTS have trained relevant public service providers and they are now providing AFHS in a sensitive and non-judgemental way. Using the evidence and experience gained in the Dutch-funded projects, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has decided to replicate the AFHS approach throughout the country. In the reporting period, 400 AFHS corners have been established by the MoHFW using the model of the 188 existing AFHS corners.

The Dutch-funded projects are currently considering ways to include human resources within the GoB structure, such as (para) counselors to enable young people to access services in a sensitive and confidential manner. To increase support for adolescent health and breaking social myths/taboos, advocacy initiatives have been set up with parents, teachers and gate keepers, i.e. religious leaders, local elected bodies, etc.

A total of 297 AFHS corners (cumulative) had been established in public health facilities by the end of 2018. The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has set up another 400 AFHS corners. In 2020, the GoB intends to establish a further 800 AFHS corners.

188 AFHS corners

Number of direct sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services provided to young people


349,574 young people


On track

Projects like ADOHEARTS, Working with Women (WwW II) and UBR have provided SRHR services to 68,525 adolescents and youths. During the current reporting period, the SANGJOG project provided health care services on SRHR needs to 12,770 Rohingya refugees and 3,426 vulnerable young key population members in seven districts.

HIV/STI/RTI services were provided, including testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS and counselling services from nearby government hospitals and NGO clinics. UBR contributed 281,049 services from 12 UBR NGO health facilities, including 1,092 to gender diverse groups. In addition, these centres have provided counselling to 35,746 young people on puberty issues and to 7,320 on Gender Based Violence (GBV). Through its inclusive business models, WwW II established links between the RMG factories and the nearby health facilities. By organising health camps, projects have also contributed towards change in the health seeking behaviour of young people.

Total coverage: 349,574

Number of direct SRH services provided to young people

Number of young people involved in SRHR activities




On track

Adolescents and young people, both male and female, are the main target group of SRHR projects in Bangladesh. They are systematically involved in programme implementation. Projects have capacitated young people to raise their voices and claim their rights. Adolescents as peers are involved in rendering SRHR and gender knowledge, and guide young people in accessing AFHS, as established in government and NGO facilities. As organisers, they support the projects in organising events, day celebrations, health camps, advocacy meetings/events, etc. By staging street drama and theatre performances, they draw attention to SRHR issues, knowledge and services, and inform parents, teachers and gate keepers of the importance of SRHR and sexuality in the process of growing up. Young people also raise awareness of gender-based violence and child marriage, and are involved in addressing incidences.

The actual involvement of young people in the reporting period is 2.1 million, through projects like ADOHEARTS, UBR, WwW II, SANGJOG, Nirapod, RITU and Generation Breakthrough.




People benefiting from improved river basin management and safe deltas




On track

The stated result represents the additional number of people living in polder and coastal areas that are well protected and capable of securing their life and livelihood against natural disasters and vulnerabilities through the intervention of projects to which the Netherlands contributed.

This result was realised through three individual projects:

1. Char Development and Settlement Program IV (the Netherlands contributed 22% of total cost)

2. The Blue Gold programme (the Netherlands contributed 82% of total cost)

3. South West II (the Netherlands contributed 12% of total cost)

Of these three projects, around 84% of the total result was realised by the Blue Gold programme and CDSP IV. The ability to offer safe deltas to benefit people depends on ensuring water security and water safety in the project intervention areas, which requires both engineering and non-engineering interventions.

The engineering part includes the (re-)construction of drainage sluices and embankments, bank protection work, canal re-excavation, etc. Similarly, the non-engineering part includes water management group formation, capacity development, institutional development for participatory water management, improvement of agricultural productivity, strengthening of the agricultural value chain, etc. Both are complementary to each other to ensure a functional water management system in the project area. The South-West II project contributed the remaining results (around 16% of total) in 2019.

Number of people benefiting from improved river basin management and safe deltas

People using safely managed drinking water services (SDG 6.1.1)




On track

The stated result reflects the additional number of people that gained access to safely managed drinking water facilities in the reporting period through the intervention of projects to which the Netherlands contributed. WASH facilities deteriorate quickly, due to use and inadequate maintenance. To overcome this issue, WASH projects focus on the sustainable use of water facilities through awareness building and training.

This result was realised through four individual projects:

1. BRAC WASH for Rohingya (the Netherlands contributed 100% of total cost)

2. MaxNutriWASH (the Netherlands contributed 100% of total cost)

3. BRAC WASH Integration (the Netherlands contributed 72% of total cost)

4. CDSP IV (the Netherlands contributed 22% of total cost)

Around 55% of the total result was attained through the BRAC WASH for Rohingya project, which mainly provides support to the Rohingya refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar district in response to the refugee situation.

Approximately 28% of the total result was achieved through the MaxNutriWASH project, which is piloting a new approach (payment by result) to deliver WASH services at the rural level. Limited results were achieved through BRAC WASH Integration and CDSP IV projects, which are at the consolidation stage.

People using safely managed drinking water services (SDG 6.1.1)

People using safely managed sanitation services, including a hand-washing facility with soap and water (SDG 6.1.2)




On track

The stated result reflects only the additional number of people that gained access to safely managed sanitation facilities, including a hand-washing facility with soap and water, in the reporting period, due to the intervention of projects to which the Netherlands contributed. Besides providing the basic sanitation infrastructures, intensive focus was placed on hygiene promotion and behavioural change to ensure the proper use and maintenance of sanitation facilities.

This result was realised through four different projects:

1. BRAC WASH Integration (the Netherlands contributed 72% of total cost)

2. MaxNutriWASH (the Netherlands contributed 100% of total cost) – implemented in three different contexts.

3. BRAC WASH for Rohingya (the Netherlands contributed 100% of total cost)

4. CDSP IV (the Netherlands contributed 22% of total cost)

A significant proportion (around 73%) of the total result was achieved through the BRAC WASH Integration and MaxNutriWASH projects, which mainly focus on infrastructure development, hygiene promotion and behavioralbehavioural change to ensure the sustainable use of sanitation facilities. These projects also create a solid link between the beneficiaries and local government institutions, which allows them to continue producing results in the future (sustainability).

Around 26% of the result was achieved through the BRAC WASH

People using safely managed sanitation services, including a hand-washing facility with soap and water (SDG 6.1.2)

Private sector development

The results in context

Thanks to sustained economic growth figures of 6-8% annually for the past decade, Bangladesh is set to graduate from Least Developed Country-status in 2024. This will provide new opportunities, but also new responsibilities. For instance, it is expected that more than 2 million youths will enter the job market annually in the decade 2020-30. The importance of skills and job creation among Bangladeshi youths can therefore not be overstated, but these challenges will increasingly have to be faced without donor support.

In addition to youth, skills and jobs, PSD activities in the reporting period focused on the readymade garments (RMG) sector. The RMG sector accounts for more than 80% of Bangladesh’s export revenue and is under heavy strain from regional competition. Due to its lucrative nature and the high degree of politico-economical interconnectedness, the sector is sensitive to political tensions, which hampered some of the results.

During the reporting period and within its programme activities, the Netherlands also focused on women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting theme. This meant

1. close co-operation with the work done under the gender theme, such as activities that include financial inclusion and/or female entrepreneurship components,

2. monitoring the gender components in the existing RMG portfolio and

3. exploring the potential to encourage female inclusion and entrepreneurship as keystones of overall private sector development.

Narrative on results achieved

During the reporting period, the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center project successfully addressed skills and leadership development among Bangladeshi youths, creating awareness and increasing coherence among students from different education systems. At the same time, the project also links students to the job market through events and career programmes. During the coming period, there will be no adjustment to the planning of the project.

As for RMG, the Netherlands programmes focused on improving conditions throughout the value chain in the RMG industry in Bangladesh, through projects with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and International Finance Corporation (IFC). The Netherlands retains an influential position in the Bangladeshi RMG sector, partly due to its programme involvement. Since the RMG sector is such a dominant economic sector (in terms of its contribution to overall employment as well as export earnings), decision-making in the sector is highly intertwined with the political sphere. This has resulted in volatility in the relationships between the stakeholders during the reporting period, which had an effect on programme results: out of the cumulative target of 560 factories (by the end of 2021) implementing a plan for local prevention, mitigation and remediation of RBC risks, 170 were reached in the reporting period.

For the ILO project, fewer factories could be supported in finalising their remediation plans (167 out of 248 – although 248 was an end of year target and reporting took place in June 2018), although interestingly a substantial amount of factory workers were reported to have better working conditions. For the IFC Partnership for Cleaner Textile project (PaCT), the limited progress (three factories reached from the six-month target of five, [overall three-year target: 180]) reported has to do with the indicator chosen: Phase II of the programme had just started and it is expected that the number of factories will catch up as the programme progresses. For the GIZ project, there has been considerable difficulty in getting the GoB on board for a trial on Employment Injury Insurance, despite repeated political commitment in the past.

Considering the multi-year span of these three programmes, as well as being on track with other indicators not reported here, it is expected that the programmes will be able to catch up on these indicators, especially considering that the ILO has already revised its overall target for factories under the Better Work Bangladesh (BWB) programme in close consultation with donors. Therefore, no adjustment is required.

Women’s rights and gender equality

The results in context

Women’s rights and gender equality (WRGE) are high on the Netherlands policy agenda. Several SDGs touch upon the issues of gender equality and empowerment of women but, most importantly, SDG 5 focuses on issues concerning women and girls and is therefore fundamental. Bangladesh will soon graduate from the LDC category. With the associated change in its aid recipient status, the Netherlands’ engagement on gender in Bangladesh will gradually shift from a primary focus on SRHR-Gender programming to broader advocacy on gender equality and empowerment of women, and on mainstreaming gender in its priority sectors, i.e. water and agriculture, private sector development and RMG. Over the coming years, the Netherlands will pursue gender programming, gender advocacy and gender mainstreaming as a three-pronged approach to the implementation of its WRGE policy.

Current projects in the Gender (and SRHR) portfolio focus inclusively on gender based violence (GBV), child marriage, women’s economic empowerment and access to services and value chains. Bangladesh has seen an alarming rise in child rape, sexual assaults and incidents of violence against women (VAW). ASTHA aims to create a sustainable model of prevention of GBV by raising awareness in the community and supporting the victims by offering protection and legal, health and psychosocial (holistic) counselling. The IMAGE project raises awareness concerning the prevention of child marriage by showcasing the negative impact on early married girls (EMGs) in terms of health and social position. Hence, it links the EMGs to education and income generating activities (IGA)/entrepreneurship. Making Markets Work for Women (MMWW) empowers women to become entrepreneurs and compete in the agriculture value chain. Projects in water management and agriculture, RMG and PSD also contribute to the WRGE results by working inclusively to enhance the prospects of girls and women becoming productive members of the community.

Some results:

279 reported GBV cases (out of a total of 562) were resolved; of the rest, 21% received referral support, including legal, health and others.

1,255 women and girls accessed services from the project’s two Women Friendly Spaces (WFS) in the Rohingya refugee camps.

2,800 women entrepreneurs maintained their compliances and business plans, and confidently dealt with buyers for fair price.

621 EMGs received a range of IGA training (linked to GoB facilities) and 1,879 (23.5% of total EMGs) became involved in IGAs.



Number of demonstrable links with networks, movements, action plans and inter-sectoral collaborations




On track

Projects are encouraged to widen their scope of working together with other like-minded organisations. Hence, they are collaborating with existing networks, especially on the issue of violence against women. Projects and their stakeholders are raising their voices on child marriage, gender based violence, women’s empowerment and other relevant issues through these networks. Networks are used for joint advocacy on crucial issues. As well as at national level, projects are also engaged in advocacy at local and regional level. Activities like day celebrations, organising events, referrals to public services, etc. are undertaken to create synergies and promote sustainability. These links with the local, regional and national authorities strengthen channels of communication with the stakeholders as well as allowing projects to share project-level evidence for policy incorporation and replication. Initiatives continue to pursue networking and actively engage in movements and collaborations.

Number reflects intervention collaborations by projects in both gender and SRHR areas at local, regional and national level.


Number of girls, by age category and marital status, who were linked with income-generating opportunities through the project


2,379 girls and women


On track

Women’s economic empowerment is one of the issues to be pursued within the current MACS. Projects have initiated activities to link beneficiaries (i.e. adolescent girls, early married girls and young women) to skill development opportunities, in order to increase their economic resilience and income-generating activities (IGA). These are mostly provided by existing public and/or NGO institutes located within the community. Projects have linked these trained women to the job market and helped them to become entrepreneurs. They also followed a holistic approach of involving the girls/women’s entire family and community, which has resulted in more girls becoming active in IGAs, like handicrafts, agri-entrepreneurship and business, farming, becoming an RMG worker, etc. The approach has also enhanced the mobility and economic resilience of these girls/women and reduced their household work burden, as in-laws family, including husbands, share the daily chores (IMAGE). Projects have introduced innovative business models, engaging women as community support group members (Nirapod), while other women are engaged in agri-business. Village markets are being made women friendly to enable women to sell directly to dealers, cutting out middlemen (MMWW). Victims of GBV are also linked to skill development and IGAs for their economic dependence (ASTHA).

2,379 girls and women

Number of women experiencing violence who are receiving essential services


111 women and girls


On track

111 women and girls received services from the Court Help Desks (CHDs). ASTHA stands for Strengthening Access to Multi-sectoral Public Services for gender based violence (GBV) Survivors in Bangladesh.The ASTHA project aims to strengthen access to multi-sectoral public services for survivors of gender based violence (GBV) by addressing gaps at local and national level that impede the realisation of an environment of support, justice, and zero tolerance for GBV. In line with its objectives, the project’s major interventions are to build the capacity of GoB multi-sectoral service providers to effectively respond to and prevent GBV; to create a functional referral system; to advocate against GBV; and to create awareness among communities of harmful gender norms and behaviour that perpetuate GBV. ASTHA also supported the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) in establishing women-friendly ‘Court Help Desks’ (CHDs) at district courts. In the reporting period, a total of 111 women and girls received services relating to legal advice, information and assistance from the CHDs.

A qualified female advocate presides over the CHD, as a legal support officer (LSO), providing legal advice, information and support, such as assisting GBV survivors in filing a case, counselling and guidance. The LSOs are pivotal for improving access to multi-sectoral services, by ensuring accurate referrals of sensitive and complex GBV cases.

Background and future Bangladesh

Glimpse into the future

Bangladesh is no longer a mere recipient of aid. It has become a Lower Middle Income Country and the economy is projected to continue to grow in the coming years at a rate of around 8% per year. By 2024, it will also have graduated from the category of Least Developed Countries.

In light of these developments, our relationship with the country will evolve into a broader bilateral relationship with increased focus on economic relations (trade and investment), international co-operation, knowledge partnership and comprehensive policy dialogue at government level. The potential for economic diplomacy is considerable, especially in sectors in which the Netherlands has a good reputation.

The following issues will be crucial over the coming years:

Graduation of Bangladesh from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category in 2024. This will have a direct impact on development financing but also on trade preferences. As of 2027, Bangladesh will no longer be eligible for duty-free exports to the European Union (EU) under the Everything But Arms initiative, but will instead wish to make use of the EU's special incentive arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+). This will however depend on Bangladesh meeting more and stricter requirements.

(Adaptation to) Climate change. For the Netherlands, the implementation of the Bangladesh Deltaplan 2100 will be the main avenue to address the impact of climate change.

Presence of one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. It is fair to say that the prospect of the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar is very bleak and that the refugees will remain in Bangladesh for a long(er) period. This raises the question of how Bangladesh will deal with that situation.

Employment. It is expected that more than 2 million youths will enter the job market annually in the decade 2020-30. The importance of skills and job creation can therefore not be overstated.

Position of civil society. Political and civil rights are under pressure. Democratic and civic space is shrinking. Bangladesh’s historically active and vocal civil society is increasingly restricted.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is most likely severe. The extent to which this affects our current and future projects is still unknown.

Additional sources

You can find how the budget was allocated in 2019 and which projects were funded on the budget website.

  1. Visit the website
    Programme budget Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
  2. Select financial year 2019
Country page on Dutch government site

Page on current policy towards Bangladesh

Facebook page

Follow the Netherlands Embassy in Bangladesh on Facebook


Follow the Netherlands Ambassador in Bangladesh on Twitter

Results Food security

Download PDF with results for Food security in Bangladesh

Results SRHR

Download PDF with results for SRHR in Bangladesh

Results Water

Download PDF with results for Water in Bangladesh

Results Private sector development

Download PDF with results for Private sector development in Bangladesh

Results Women’s rights and gender equality

Download PDF with results for Women’s rights and gender equality in Bangladesh

Expenditure Embassy by channel


Expenditure Embassy by theme


The budget in this figure is for the year 2019 and does not completely correspond with the results on this page, which have been collected between Oct 2018 and Oct 2019. More information on this can be found on the 'About the results report' page.