The experts concerned made their request in a virtual press conference organized by ActionAid Bangladesh, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and the International Budget Partnership on Sunday
Experts have urged the effective use of the proposed climate budget of Tk24,226 crore for fiscal year 2020-21, with honesty, and based on priority.
The experts concerned made their request in a virtual press conference organized by ActionAid Bangladesh, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and the International Budget Partnership on Sunday.
Prof Dr Saleemul Huq, director of ICCCAD, said: “Size of the climate budget allocation is good but the important thing is how it is spent. And what is more important is making the allocation beneficial for citizens.
“Will the money be spent honestly and will the people benefit from it? Monitoring how the allocation is spent is crucial.”
“Not only the government, but other institutions including media houses, citizens, and NGOs are responsible for monitoring the climate budget expenditure,” added Saleemul.
He further said: “We have to stress on capacity building and knowledge sharing. All of the ministries, departments, and NGOs need to know what they have to do with the climate budget.
“It is of utmost importance to convey knowledge based on the situation, which is changing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to use this budget effectively.”
Dr Saleemul emphasized coordination among the 25 ministries and departments, and NGOs, in using the allocated budget.
ActionAid Bangladesh Director, Farah Kabir, said: “We have to know what kind of calamity we might face in future due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To make these predictions, knowledge building has to be prioritized.”
“How hazardous will the plastic waste from discarded PPEs be? People in the informal sector are out of work: what skills do they need to ensure their reemployment? How can we protect women from domestic violence which has been on the rise since the pandemic began? It is important that we know the answers to these kinds of questions,” she added.
Farah said: “Dams are getting damaged every year during floods and cyclones. Why does it happen? Accountability in this regard has to be established.
“Those who have a vested interest have to be clear, and we have to hear the local voices before undertaking any projects and development work to make the budget effective.”
Dr Munjurul Hannan Khan, additional secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said: “Association between local and national level institutions is needed to achieve good outcomes from climate-related projects.
“Priorities have changed due to Covid-19. Right now, health, food security, habitat, and livelihood have to be prioritized when undertaking a project.”
“Honesty has to be established regarding the spending of money. Misuse of money will be reduced if it is done,” Munjurul added.
Ziaul Haque, director of the Department of Environment, said: “Climate related projects get funding from the Annual Development Programme and the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund. Duplication of funding for the same project has to be avoided.”
Forming a task force
“Climate Financing for Sustainable Development: Budget Report 2020-2021,” published by the Finance Division of the Ministry of Finance, recommended forming a taskforce to ensure that the climate budget is used properly.
Experts who joined the press conference said a task force must not have representatives only from the government and development partners. It should also comprise representatives from civil society, NGOs, media, and general citizens.
Proposed climate budget for fiscal year 2020-2021
The government has allocated Tk24,225.7 crore—7.5% of the total budget—to 25 ministries for preventing the adverse impacts of climate-induced hazards, and for adaptation.
According to the Finance Ministry’s report, among the thematic areas across Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCAP), Tk9,992.71 crore (41.25%) has been allocated for food security, social protection, and health. Tk6,303.85 crore (26%) has been allocated for infrastructure, Tk4,004.37 crore (16.53%) for mitigation and low-carbon development, Tk1,810.74 (7.47%) for comprehensive disaster management, Tk1,266.30 (5.23%) for capacity building and institutional strengthening, and Tk848.62 (3.50%) for research and knowledge management in the climate budget.