The disclosure was made in a climate budget report, entitled 'Climate Financing for Sustainable Development: Budget Report 2021-22,' published by the Finance Ministry on Thursday
The government has set an allocation of Tk25,124.98 crore to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in the proposed budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
The allocation, which is 0.73% of GDP (gross domestic product), will be spent by 25 ministries and divisions.
The total amount has increased by Tk2,185.53 crore from last year's revised budget of Tk22,939.45 crore.
The disclosure was made in a climate budget report, entitled "Climate Financing for Sustainable Development: Budget Report 2021-22," published by the Finance Ministry on Thursday.
This is the fifth climate budget report from the ministry, in relation to its total budget allocation for five years from FY2017-18 to FY2021-22 together with climate relevant expenditure for the period from FY2017-18 to FY2019-20.
The report also provides a breakdown of allocations for each ministry/division by the BCCSAP (Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan) thematic areas. The breakdown shows that among the six thematic areas, maximum allocation was made for food security, social security and health, followed by infrastructure, and mitigation and low carbon development.
The report said the cumulative budget allocation of these 25 ministries and divisions accounts for 57.33% of the total national budget of FY2021-22. Out of this total allocation, 7.26% is climate relevant.
For these ministries/divisions, the total climate change relevant allocation in FY2021-22 has increased by 9.53% or Tk2,185.53 crore compared to revised climate allocation and 4.36% in the original climate allocation of FY2020-21.
The proposed budget of FY2021-22 shows that this year the allocation is 7.26% of the total budget, compared to last year's allocation of 7.48% for 25 ministries/divisions.
Alongside the climate relevant allocation, the report brings to light actual expenditure during the period from FY2017-18 to FY2019-20. It will be seen that during FY2017-18 to FY2019-20, actual climate relevant expenditure percentage stood at 81.55% in FY2017-18, 93.44% in FY2018-19, and 78.91% in FY2019-20 against the revised climate allocation in those years.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has proposed reducing the allocation on overall climate related allocation budget, although the total allocation for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has increased to Tk1,221 crore as compared to Tk1,036 crore of FY2020-21.
Allocation has also increased in both operational and development sections for all the ministries than last year but it is less in terms of the percentage allocation of the total budget than that of FY2020-21.
Continuing the trend of the past three fiscal years, under the BCCSAP, priority has been given to food security, social protection and health, with an allocation of Tk9,791.37 crore, followed by infrastructure which has got an amount of Tk6,510.23 crore.
Mitigation and low-carbon development, comprehensive disaster management, capacity building and institutional strengthening, and research and knowledge management areas have been allocated Tk4,378.44 crore, Tk1,977.88 crore, Tk1,556.42 crore, and Tk910.62 crore respectively.
Climate change mitigation efforts
The government plans to give special attention to solar energy projects, afforestation programs in climate hotspots, programs for promoting the use of new technology to replace coal-fired kilns as climate change mitigation efforts.
In his budget speech, the finance minister said: "Climate policy, plans and strategies adopted by the government have been integrated with the government budget management through the 'Inclusive Budgeting and Financing for Climate Resilience' project being implemented by the Finance Division."
He said as of now 25 ministries/divisions had enabled the climate change dimension in the Ministry Budget Framework.
Besides, the Climate Fiscal Framework adopted by the government in 2014 was updated in 2020 and its remit broadened to include innovative financing issues, including private sector participation in climate finance, the minister continued.
The approval process for the "Adaptation Initiative for Climate Vulnerable Offshore Small Islands and Riverine Char Lands in Bangladesh" project to take adaptive action on small islands and offshore islands along climate vulnerable areas was in progress, the minister said.
In addition, the government would implement the "Developing Bangladesh National Red List of Plants and Developing Invasive Plant Species Management Strategy for Selected Areas" project, which will create a Red List Index of 1,000 plant species in the country and prepare a management strategy for controlling alien invasive plant species in five selected areas, the minister added.
'Budget on climate change does not reflect public opinion'
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), said she did not think the budget on climate change reflected public opinion.
She, however, thanked the government for its plan on forestry, special attention to solar energy projects, and use of new technology to replace coal-fired kilns as climate change mitigation efforts.
She said: "If the brick kiln is to be removed, why won't the coal-fired power plants?"
Both were damaging the environment, she said.
"I do not think the main issue for discussion is how much money has been allocated to tackle climate change. Rather, one of the most important issues is whether the allocated money will be used properly or not."
Going by the amount in the proposed budget regarding tackling climate change and protecting the environment, it would not be possible to come up with adequate manpower on the part of the Department of Environment across the country, she added.