Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the D-8 leaders to come forward for a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis and address the challenges posed by climate change.
She also put emphasis on the importance of trade, investment, cooperation and harnessing the power of youth in the D-8 countries.
"I would like to urge you (D-8 leaders) to put pressure on Myanmar for taking back the Rohingyas," she said, expressing her concern that if the crisis is not resolved, it may create security concerns in the region and beyond.
The Rohingya crisis is an urgent issue for Bangladesh as it is having a severe impact on the country's environment, society and the economy, said the premier while addressing the 10th D-8 Summit, which is hosted by Bangladesh, virtually on Thursday as chair.
The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, consists of eight developing Muslim dense countries – Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
All heads of state and government, foreign ministers, D-8 secretary general and delegates joined the summit virtually.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh gave shelter to 1.1 million Rohingyas of Myanmar on humanitarian grounds, but it insisted from the beginning that they (Rohingya) have to go back to the Rakhine State in Myanmar in a safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable manner.
"Unfortunately, it has been more than three years after their influx into Bangladesh, and the repatriation process is yet to be started," she noted.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered the opening speech and then handed over the organisation's chairmanship to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was also in the chair when Bangladesh hosted the 2nd D-8 Summit in Dhaka in 1999.
In the summit, Sheikh Hasina made an urgent call to the leaders for a meaningful cooperation among the D-8 member countries for adaptation and mitigation measures, referring to Bangladesh's experiences regarding the issues of climate changes.
The Bangladesh premier said her country has achieved phenomenal socio-economic growth even after the increasing frequency of natural disasters.
In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, she said, Bangladesh had to bear the brunt of cyclone Amphan and prolonged flood last year and an estimated close to 1% of GDP was lost due to climate change.
"It is likely to increase in the coming decades if the current phenomenon is not reversed," she noted.
Sheikh Hasina said as the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum-CVF, Bangladesh will be happy to work with the D-8 member states on the issue of implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The theme of the 10th D-8 summit is "Partnership for Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology".
Sheikh Hasina, one of the founding members of D-8 who attended the first Summit in Istanbul in 1997 as the prime minister of Bangladesh, also highlighted a few points in the areas of mutual cooperation in the summit.
These are to harness the power of youths through skill development; utilise full potential of ICT; create necessary legal, institutional and infrastructural framework; and improve connectivity to facilitate trade and investment.
Laying emphasis on tapping the power and potential of the youths who have made breakthroughs in business ideas, models, innovations and technologies, she said the youths of D-8 countries can be encouraged to come together through the business initiatives at private and even government to private level.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has put emphasis on the use of transformative technology for the last one decade, turning the country into a "Digital Bangladesh".
She added that Bangladesh is moving forward optimally using the power of youth and technology with more than 6 lakh IT professionals, 28 high-tech parks and technology friendly initiatives.
The Bangladesh prime minister also pointed out another key area of cooperation and said the member countries need to give focus on trade.
Mentioning that trade is ultimately driven by the private sector, she said it is important to facilitate the travel of business people for which Bangladesh has joined six D-8 members in ratifying "Simplification of Visa Procedures for the Businessmen of the D-8 Member States".
The Prime Minister also briefly highlighted her government's different initiatives to minimise the offset of the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic.