POST TIME: 23 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Increase budget allocation for climate financing, say civil society groups
Special Correspondent, Dhaka

Increase budget allocation for climate financing, say civil society groups

Civil society groups have demanded that the government increase its budgetary allocation for development of climate infrastructure in the 2019-20 fiscal year to protect millions of people in coastal areas who are vulnerable to climate change. They also demanded the strengthening of Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) operations through policy revisions and sufficient funding. The demands were made at a seminar organised by COAST Trust at the CIRDAP auditorium in the city yesterday. Members of civil society groups and climate networks have criticised the government for ignoring the climate finance requirement in the proposed budget for FY2019-20.

Among others, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest & Climate Change member Zafar Alam, Federation of NGOs in Bangladesh director Rafiqul Islam, Bangladesh Krishak Federation president Badrul Alam, journalist Quamrul Islam Chowdhury and green activist Nurul Islam Chowdhury spoke at the seminar. Syed Aminul Hoque of COAST Trust presented the keynote paper.

Hoque said it was good that the government has included ministries under climate financing, but the allocation was insufficient in view of climate vulnerability. He criticised the proposed budget allocation of Tk. 23,785 crore (4.5 per cent of the total budget) as very poor, saying it just separated the figure from a traditional budget with some criteria under the climate fiscal framework.

Hoque also said five specific areas needed revision in the proposed budget. These are: the proposed climate budget needs to be revised in view of BCCSAP (Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009) projection and the allocation should be accordingly increased to at least 2 per cent of GDP; special allocation for coastal districts as per their vulnerability and adaptation priorities; highest allocation for the climate protection infrastructure like embankment and shelter; the government should strengthen BCCTF operations by providing sufficient funds with revision of policies and engage local people; and MPs should monitor the progress of budget implementation.

Zafar Alam laid emphasis on the construction of embankments for coastal protection in the proposed budget. But the proposed allocation for this was insufficient, he added.

“We will discuss this at our parliamentary committee meeting. We will also propose to the parliamentary session for increasing the budget allocation in this sector if there is any scope,” he said.

Badrul Alam recommended that the government should push people in the implementation process and involve local lawmakers for periodical monitoring of the progress of local level development.