Failed to meet expectations as locals not consulted: speakers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 10, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:27 AM, September 10, 2019

Climate Change Adaptation Projects

Failed to meet expectations as locals not consulted: speakers

Several climate change adaptation projects, such as construction of embankments, did not generate expected outcome as those initiatives were taken without consulting locals and public representatives in the country’s coastal areas, speakers observed yesterday.

Long delay in maintenance of those infrastructures, lack of accountability among the relevant government bodies, and absence of good governance are the other reasons which hinder effectiveness of the projects, they added.

The allegations were placed at a consultation meeting -- attended by public representatives, policymakers and experts  -- on embankment management at Cirdap auditorium in the capital.

Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL), an alliance of non-government organisations, arranged the event, where several Union Parishad chairmen and members from Khulna, Satkhira and Gaibandha took part.

Replying to the issues, lawmakers and climate experts urged the concerned authorities of the government to prepare the adaptation plans through consultation with locals and public representatives.

They also stressed on the need for proper implementation of the plans and curbing corruption in climate projects.

“My home is in a coastal area. I know what actually happens there. I also know how the climate projects are implemented,” said Habibun Nahar, member of the parliament from Bagerhat-3 constituency [Mongla and Rampal].

Not only government officials, but some locals and political leaders are also responsible for causing damage to the embankments and forest resources, she said.

“…I alone cannot ensure proper implementation of the projects. I need support from people and all stages of the government,” said Habibun, also deputy minister for environment, forest and climate change.

Lawmaker Hasanul Haq Inu said plans are being prepared and budget is being allocated for climate change adaptation, but a big gap and absence of people’s participation are found in terms of implementation.

These are happening due to lack of good governance in the relevant institutions, he added.

“No corruption will be tolerated in construction of embankments,” said Inu, also president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal.

He also said it is time to reveal and punish the people who are responsible for irregularities and corruption.

Eminent water resources expert Prof Ainun Nishat said the embankments that have been built so far are based on a plan which was prepared several decades ago; hence the initiatives are not that fruitful.

The professor emeritus of Brac University recommended that the government prepare new designs and plans for the embankments and ensure timely maintenance of the infrastructures.

Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF); Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chairman of parliamentary standing committee on the environment ministry; Dipak Kanti Paul, managing director of Bangladesh Climate Change Trust; and Ziaul Hoque Mukta, general secretary of CSRL, also spoke at the programme.

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