TIB: Climate projects okayed based on favouritism
Mahadi Al Hasnat

With the government having allocated $400m to Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF) in last seven fiscal years, some trustee board or technical committee members of the fund have reportedly been approving projects to their familiar ones, and some others considering their political identity, a report said yesterday.

The report prepared by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) also said that the projects, without ensuring public participation and determining risk and impact of climate change, were designed and approved.

Even the project funds were estimated in an imbalanced manner, reportedly based on flawed assessment on the disaster-prone areas, it said. 

The anti-graft watchdog prepared the report following research of six projects implemented by local government and rural development ministry between March and November last year, and published it in a press conference in the capital. 

Five of the projects were halted by irregularities and mismanagement of the CCTF and project officials, the TIB findings claimed.

Contracts of the some of the projects were illegally awarded to the relatives or near ones of respective local government representatives and project officials, the report further said, adding, even some were assigned as contractors considering their political affiliation and the contract of three projects was finalised through bribery.

“Since the government had created the fund to combat climate change issues, it should ensure proper implementation of the projects,” TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal told the conference on “Climate Financing and Local Government Organisation: Good Governance in Project Implementation”. 

Emphasising on public participation during adoption of the projects, she alleged that the government raised money for the fund from the countrymen, which was not being spent with cent percent transparency.

None of the projects went through e-tendering, raising questions over those being implemented transparently, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said.

In addition, reformation of trustee board with inclusion of climate change experts, representatives from civil society and non-political persons, expansion of the fund, project approval after properly assessing climate change risk, increasing capability of local government bodies, amending the fund policy, ensuring access to information regarding the fund and projects and ensuring accountability and proper monitoring were recommended.

Till last June, 440 projects were undertaken and 377 of those are being implemented by the government, semi-government and autonomous agencies with NGOs are implementing 63 projects, sources said. 

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