Sustainable climate finance: Prioritize vulnerable people
The man-made climate change has become a big challenge for the lives and livelihoods of Bangladesh.According to GlobalClimateChangeRiskIndexJanuary 2021, it ranks seventh among the countries most affected by extreme climate change events in the last 20 years.
In the year of Bangladesh's golden jubilee, the 'Climate Financing for Sustainable Development: Budget Report 2021-22' calls for 25 ministries/divisions accounts for 57.33 percent, where the total allocation for climate-related is 7.26 percent. The climate-related allocation has been steadily decreased in the previous three fiscal years.
First of all, there is no balanced distribution of the operating and development budget expenditure in the selected ministries/divisions. The actual expenditureof the ministries/divisions is decreasing gradually against the total allocation.
Secondly, in the six thematic areas, the largest share of 39 percent goes to 'Food Security, Social Protection and Health', 26 percent for `Infrastructure' and17 percent for 'Mitigation and Low-carbon'. Considering the socio-economic context of Bangladesh, 'Comprehensive Disaster Management', 'Research and Knowledge Management', 'Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening' are more important. However, the climate-related allocation has been increasing in the area of 'Mitigation and low-carbon development' from the beginning.
Thirdly, the budget mentions six main areas of expenditure of climate-related plans and funds, but it does not mention the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF).Although the five-year project expired in 2021, there is no mention of any further extension.
On the other hand, less allocation has been observed in Biodiversity conservation, Sustainable infrastructure development and improved stakeholder participation and gender equity in Environment, Forestry and Climate Change (EFCC) sectors than sector-based allocation. The sum of fund allocation to the remaining eight sectors is higher than the estimated allocation. Hence, allocation for environmental pollution reduction and control was mentioned, but the estimated flow of funds has not been addressed.
Including the power, transportation and industrial sector for climate adaptation and mitigation activities on the year 2011 level, Bangladesh submitted Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2015. It sets the target of 'unconditional 5 percent' and 'conditional 10 percent' as usual without interrupting the development activities.
So far, the highest allocation has been made for improved energy efficiency since FY 2014-15, while comparatively less allocation was made to renewable energy development, lower emission from agricultural land and management of urban waste. An outline should be formulated on a priority basis to ensure the future needs of the marginalized community.
Among the Ministries/Divisions, Local Government Division received the highest allocation. The weakness has become apparent in the assessment of actual demand-driven projects. In view of the recent floods and super cyclone Amphan, there was a demand to approve projects based on the magnitude of damage in the affected areas. But that has been totally ignored in this budget.
An analysis of allocation and number of projects according to Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) thematic areas reveals that 'Infrastructure' accounted for 61 percent of total allocation with 395 projects which were the highest among the thematic areas followed by 'Mitigation and Low-Carbon Development' and 'Food Security, Social Protection and Health' with 18 and11 percent allocation respectively.
Despite the continuous strong demands of civil society in recent years, the budget allocation for 'Food Security, Social Protection and Health', 'Comprehensive Disaster Management' and 'Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening' were not taken into account.
Moreover, Green Climate Fund (GCF)approved four projects for Bangladesh where total project finance USD 167.3 million of which USD94.7 million from GCF as grant and the remaining USD 72.6 million as government co-financing.The approved project titled 'Promoting private sector investment through large scale adoption of energy saving technologies and equipment for textile sector of Bangladesh' is largely dependent on loans. The budget does not provide any guideline for strengthening the structure of government institutions to receive funding from the GCF to address the impact of climate change.
It is mentioned in the budget highlighting six hotspots and targeting a total of nine (3 national and 6 specific delta-related) as a long-term integrated and holistic plan. In the Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP) 2100 investment plan, a total of 80 projects have been selected for implementation under the investment plan at the first phase till 2040. Of them, 65 would be infrastructure projects while 15 others would aim to enhance institutional capacity, efficiency and research. Although there is scope for climate financing in these projects, it is not clear how those will be fulfilled.
It needs to be noted that, currently the government spends0.8 percent of GDP on projects and programs related to delta management. But in this FY 2021-22, there is no opportunity to know whether any project has been allocated.
Finally, the long awaited mega climate event of 26thUnited Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is knocking at the door. Being one of the major climate-vulnerable countries, Bangladesh is expecting that the developed countries would fulfil their commitment to meet the hundred-billion-dollar climate finance goal.
Recently, some countries have committed to increase their contribution to the climate fund. We strongly demand to distributeour national climate budget appropriately for vulnerable community. As well as, there should be a 50:50 balance between climate change mitigation and adaptation actions while using $100bn fund.
The writer is with the Network on Climate Change in Bangladesh