Bangladesh: Claim to involve civil society in climate change funds
Published on Wed, 2011-10-26 12:18
Bangladeshi civil society organizations demanded participation in the management of the official climate change funds for their representatives and those of the affected communities, to enhance their transparency and accountability. The claim was made at a national consultation in Dhaka, moderated by Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD), an alliance of several institutions and renowned citizens.
There are only media reports on non governmental organizations funding (1.5% of the total fund), while there are hardly any reports on 98.5% of funding given to government projects, just those that should be under close media and public scrutiny, warned Ziaul Haque Mukta, of the Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood.
The groups, supported by several legislators, called for the creation of an independent inter-ministerial board for the management of the climate funds, under the supervision of the prime minister with representatives from civil society organizations and the affected population.
Speaking at the national consultation meeting on the eve of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (to be held from 28 Nov to 9 Dec in Durban, South Africa), the representatives of Bangladeshi civil society said that the prime minister’s supervision would ensure a coordinated action.
The consultation on “Democratic Ownership and Social Accountability in Climate Fund Management” was jointly organized by EquityBD and Justice Working Group Bangladesh, Coastal Development Partnership, IBON Foundation, The Reality of Aid and Voice at the National Press Club.
Question remains about the management of the Climate Change Trust Fund and the Climate Change Resilience Fund, both created by the government within the framework of its Climate Change Strategic Action Plan, the speakers said, according to New Age daily.
By involving the affected people and civic groups with the government in the administration of the funds, their management would be more transparent and accountable, said ruling Awami League lawmaker Md Sohrab Ali Sana, a member of parliamentary standing committee on Forest and Environment Ministry.
The democratic ownership of the funds could be ensured only by facilitating the participation of the affected people and the civil society, added Sana, who called for the creation of a separate ministry for coastal affairs, facing the severe adverse impact of climate change.
Action Aid Bangladesh country director Farah Kabir regretted that developed countries failed in their commitment to cut down carbon emission by 2010. Those nations did not do it when their economic condition was good, and now it is dubious if they would do it facing the current economic hardships, she remarked.
Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, member of EquityBD, the meeting was also addressed by Jatiya Party lawmaker MA Jabbar, Oxfam country director in Bangladesh Gareth Price Jones, Bangladesh Krishak Federation general secretary Badrul Alam and Rampal upazila parishad former chairman Abdul Jalil.
The government formed Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund with Tk. 21 billion (some USD 272 million) from its own sources, in line with the implementation of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. It also created the Climate Change Resilience Fund of worth $128 million (some USD 1.7 million), with contributions of United Kingdom, the European Union, Denmark and Sweden.
Several developed countries including Australia and Canada have promised their contribution. “Although the fund is owned by the government, for the time being it will be managed by World Bank, which is completely irrelevant,” said Chowdhury.