Bangladesh in International Organizations: From the Periphery to the Centerstage

Aynul Islam[1] and Rubel Molla[2]


Due to the complex nature of geopolitics, emerging non-traditional crises, the compulsion for development, and the drive for solving international problems collectively and peacefully, multilateralism has been turned into an essential part of international relations today. Among the different domains of multilateralism, international organization is the most important one to forge cooperation and solve problems collectively for mutual benefits. Both developed and developing countries engage themselves in multilateral platforms for different purposes. Bangladesh has become a responsible and active participant in regional and global multilateral organizations, and this very nature of the country is reflected in its constitution as well. Bangladesh has been cooperating with international organizations to protect its national interests, create bargaining space, ensure economic benefits and solve international disputes amicably. This paper argues that economic prowess and growing geopolitical significance of Bangladesh in the region is creating more space for playing roles in international organizations, and the nature of the country’s engagement in multilateral platforms are changing. It has emerged as a significant actor and negotiator in regional and global affairs rather than remaining a passive audience, the country is leading the climate-vulnerable countries and the LDCs, promoting peace, building norms in the multilateral organizations, and promoting sustainable development. Regional geopolitical competitions, overlapping economic and political blocs and alliances, and enriching the diplomatic capability are some of the major challenges for Bangladesh in participating multilateral organizations. This paper suggests to balance the geopolitical game with smart negotiation strategy, enhancing strategic autonomy of foreign policy and strengthening economic diplomacy to fortify Bangladesh’s voices in international organizations and find new avenues of playing leadership role.

Keywords: Multilateralism, International Organizations and Bangladesh, Bangladesh’s Role, Challenges of Multilateralism.


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[1] Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Dhaka and Adjunct Research Director at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs, Dhaka.

[2] Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Dhaka.