Climate finance has turned into a buzzword in the arena of climate negotiation and management all over the world.
Climate change-affected countries appear more interested in this field, as they have paid much for it and are now expecting something in return from the developed world as compensation for loss and damage.
We all recognise the devastating impacts of climate change and, undeniably, affected ones badly require some financial help to cope with it. Countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Nepal are encountering the adverse effects of climate change in different sectors.
Having limited resources and capacity, these countries are unable to adapt and mitigate with climate change effects entirely. After a long way of talk and negotiation, developed countries have agreed to finance affected countries for mitigation and adaptation activities.
Climate financing basically aims to adapt to the climate-induced problems and mitigate them. To achieve this goal, the use of renewable energy has been fostered by giving aid and subsidies from donor countries.
Global trends in renewable energy investment report shows an upward curve, indicating positive growth in this sector. According to this report, in 2010, investment in this sector was $211 billion, the highest ever in history.
Yet this number is nothing compared to the growing demand. To meet this unprecedented demand, several funds have been inaugurated to serve developing countries.
Notably, the Green Climate Fund has emerged as the largest multi-lateral climate fund and the most crucial source of climate finance for developing countries.
“We need to re-think and re-evaluate our capacity and constraints, and take measures to uphold the spirit of climate financing.”
The central prospect of this fund is to finance climate projects and programs in the affected regions bestowed by international parties. Bangladesh is one of the main receivers of this climate fund and correspondingly, it has taken some measures to strengthen climate financing capability.
Where we are
Domestically, Bangladesh concedes major funds like Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BACCTF) and Bangladesh Climate Change Resilient Fund (BCCRF). A report from UNDP shows that from 2010 to 2014 Bangladesh consolidated a steady growth in climate expenditure, from $1.08bn in 2010, to $1.81bn in 2014.
Noticeably, of this total expenditure, $1.12bn has been spent for adaptation purposes, and only $92 million for mitigation purposes.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) acts as the key actor in climate change related policy formulation, coordination, and implementation while managing BACCTF, and the World Bank in case of BCCRF in climate change in the country.
So far, our experience in policy-making, budget disbursement, implementation of climate projects has not been beyond question. There have been lots of controversies over proper management and governance regarding climate financing in Bangladesh.
According to a report by the Dhaka Tribune in February, Bangladesh had lost $67m of climate funds. Moreover, in 2014, WB did not disburse a huge amount of funds of BCCRF due to lack of proper coordination among the parties.
So, it is time to address the key challenges and threats of climate financing in Bangladesh properly.
Transparency in climate projects remains a big question in climate financing, as in most of the cases, budgeting, decision-making, and expenditure reports are not disclosed properly.
Detailed information regarding climate projects and programs are not available in the concerned division or ministry. Decision-making processes lack enough participation from proper representatives of youth, women, and the civil society.
According to a report by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), corruption prevails strongly in climate projects.
There have been further reports justifying this claim. So we need to re-think and re-evaluate our capacity and constraints, and take measures to uphold the spirit of climate financing.
First of all, transparency in climate financing should be ensured by engaging the media, civil society, and youth community in the decision-making process.
Implementation and evaluation reports of the projects should be published in the websites of the concerned ministries. Capacity of the stakeholders needs to be developed by giving proper training regarding climate financing management and governance.
A central body should coordinate among the public sector, private sector, NGOs, and donor agencies for better output.
All parties should come forward with positive willingness to secure better service and proper compensation for the climate-affected people.
Naim Ebna Rahman is a graduate student of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka.