Make all climate change loans as grants
According to a report published in our newspaper, Bangladesh government authorities are about to place a demand for obtaining all climate change adaptation loans as a grant and not as loans at the upcoming Climate Summit scheduled to be held in New York. Apparently, the developed countries are more responsible for triggering climate change whereas developing countries become the firsthand sufferers. Therefore, responsible countries must seriously consider converting their loans as non - refundable grants.
We all know that, responding to climate change involves two possible approaches, 'Adaptation' and 'Mitigation.' Mitigation addresses the root causes while adaptation seeks to lower the risks posed by the consequences of climatic changes. Nevertheless, both approaches are necessary. But at present, adaptation is crucial to deal with the global changes. However, Bangladesh has come up with some innovative adaptation practices such as developing water resilient crops, home solar systems and a climate trust fund etc.
Fortunately, this time the government has fixed some agenda. However, the bureaucrats, environmentalists, and experts are afraid of the complex procedures our country has to go through to meet some necessary conditions in order to get climate change funds. The conditions given by the developed countries, at times are so stringent that sometimes it take five years to fulfill the requirements. If it takes too long to fulfill the pre-requisites, when we will be assessing and implementing those plans? Again we need a set of effective strategies to assess and implement those plans. It is noteworthy to mention that this year the Bangladesh government has allocated about Tk 23 thousand crore in the budget to combat the impact of climate change. We must make the maximum and also the optimal use of the government allocated climate fund.
Also we will have to ensure strict monitoring of all climate change related projects. In 2017 Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) studied on the use of public money for implementing climate projects. TIB findings revealed that in four out of six such projects, a group of politically powerful men have used their influence to award contracts to their 'own men'. Therefore, it would be our sincere request to the authorities concerned to monitor all climate change related projects. They must ensure effective implementation of the projects, so to get concrete result. Also, similar to development projects, climate change trust funded projects often overlap; thus there should be a synergy between the two. Lastly we suggest that, a climate finance policy must be formulated as soon as possible.
Last of all, Bangladesh is one of the top 5 countries to be on the firing line of climate induced damages and yet only receives less than 10 percent of climate funds. It is high time for developed countries to double the amount.