Climate finance spending must be efficient | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 15, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:37 AM, June 15, 2019

Climate finance spending must be efficient

Experts want to see real impact of public money spent

The proposed national budget has offered 7.8 percent of total budget as climate financing in the coming fiscal, aiming at ensuring sustainable development, protection of environment, containing pollution, protection of biodiversity and tackling adverse impacts of climate change.

In the current fiscal, the allocation was 8.1 percent.

Experts, however, demanded that climate spending must be efficient, target-oriented and achieve actual impact of the public money spent on climate change. 

Prof Ainun Nishat, noted climate change researcher, said considering the current state of affairs, the actual climate spending still remains a riddle due to a lack of clarity. Which development intervention is really dedicated to climate change is not clear, he added.

“Any climate spending must be factorised in development work to understand what actually has been done to tackle climate change,” he said, adding, “Over Tk 3,000 crore of the climate change trust fund has been spent over the past half-decade, but it is not clear what this public money has achieved in terms of combatting climate change.”

The proposed budget maintains that Bangladesh has been placed in the 6th position among countries vulnerable to natural disasters due to climate change.

Therefore, the government has formulated an adaptive, long-term, integrated and macro-level mega plan called “Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100” with the vision of achieving a safe, climate change-resilient and prosperous delta.

Implementation of the mega plan will require a huge investment of 2.5 percent of the GDP for flood control, preventing river erosion, river excavation, dredging, river training (structural measures taken to improve a river and its banks) and navigation.

While appreciative of the government’s allocation of climate financing, Tanjir Hossain, lead of Resilience and Climate Justice programme of ActionAid Bangladesh, said the civil society’s demand has been allocation of a minimum 5 percent of the GDP for climate finance.

So far, nearly half of the climate finance has been spent in the name of capacity building -- with a lion’s share of the allocation to water resources, agriculture and disaster management ministries.

“But we have never seen an impact assessment of such spending; we do not know why expensive river embankments collapse regularly one after another,” Tanjir Hossain said.

To get the desired benefits of climate finance, it is crucial to examine whether fund allocation has been in keeping with the climate adaptation and mitigation goals, whether the proposed climate projects are consistent with the national climate action plan and how much money is needed for implementing the Delta Plan, added Hossain.

Dr Saleemul Huq, director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development, spoke about the government initiative to incorporate climate financing in the national budget and to spend the fund through 25 designated ministries. 

Capacity of these ministries has been enhanced with a UNDP project and they are now expected to be capable of identifying the areas of climate fund spending, he said.     

“Previously, we were not aware who was spending the funds and how,” he said, “But this time, the ministries are designated with specified areas of climate fund for relevant development works.”

Now, the success of the government’s appreciable move depends on how the ministries’ efficiency is reflected through identification of climate-related schemes, Dr Huq added.

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