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Climate budget allocation must put climate change issues at centre

Published : 14 Sep 2021 09:17 PM

Climate budget allocation is insignificant to allow societies and economies to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of climate change. Climate change budget must incorporate climate-change induced migration and loss and damages, said experts. 

On the other hand, the differential impact of climate change on women threatens to undermine advancement of women’s empowerment in social development and politics. Thus, it is necessary to give attention to the gender dimension of climate change to develop specific and effective climate action plans that address the risks women face. One significant challenge is that government ministries, departments and agencies have less conceptual understanding of the climate budget than of the more established gender budget and gender responsive climate budgeting is a new arena for exploration, they added. 

Climate experts, stakeholders, discussants, and journalists stated these on a webinar titled ‘Stakeholder Consultation on Bangladesh Climate Budget FY 2021-22’ organised by ActionAid Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Dr. Mizan R. Khan, Professor, Environmental Science and Management at North South University; Ferdousi Begum, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh attended the event as panelists. 

In this webinar, experts tried to find and discuss the climate budget analysis from the point of human rights and focus on the ground reality to understand the relevance and effectiveness of climate expenditure. They also expressed the concern that climate Budget allocation has been significantly reduced for different ministries in comparison with the last year. 

Climate experts discussed, less than 8% budget of the twenty-five key ministries and divisions of Bangladesh has been allocated for Climate Change which is Tk 25,124.98 crore and accounts for 57.33 percent of the total national budget of FY2021-22. But within this allocation, Tk 10,286.17 crore has been allocated under operating budget and Tk 14,838.81 crore under development budget. And compared to last year’s allocation, the budget for FY 2021-22 has decreased from 7.48 percent to 7.26 percent. The budget allocation for Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in FY 2021-22 stands at Tk. 379.21 crore which has been decreased by Tk. 19.83 crore compared to last year’s revised budget. 

There is also a significant budget reduction of Tk. 427.19 crore for Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR). Climate budget allocation for Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MoFL) has been also decreased by Tk. 113.32 crore. 

Dr. Mizan R. Khan, Professor, Environmental Science and Management, North South University shared his concern that climate financing from the international sources might be decreased as an impact of transition process of Bangladesh from LDC. " 85 per cent of the allocation for climate finance comes from the local sectors, so the local sectors must be given importance. At the same time, climate financing should come under transparency and accountability. It is advisable to implement the National Adaptation Plan locally and regionally” he mentioned. Mr. Khan also marked the politics as an influencer to climate finance. In the case of climate finance, the issue of loss and damage must be taken into consideration, he added. He also opined that manpower could be exported through training the youth affected by climate change to utilize the country's demographic dividend. He also called upon the civil society to play a strong role in this regard.

Ferdousy Begum, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has identified women and children as most vulnerable to any disaster. Government is trying to formulate a women and child friendly budget, she shared. Ms. Ferdousy also appreciated, that public participation is increasing through courtyard meetings, workshops, and many other activities. At the same time, she invited everyone to come forward to solve the climate crisis from their respective positions.

Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh, said, "It is true that we are now going through a three-pronged crisis of COVID, climate and economy. Yet there is still a huge gap in leadership, consensus, planning, implementation, investment and allocation around the world in climate finance”. The impact of climate change must be borne in mind at the outset of any project, she added. She urged that development work must be women and youth friendly. Ms.Kabir also focused on working in coordination with different ministries to tackle the climate change. 

She invited for timely decisions making on water, rainfall, land, and waste management. Farah Kabir also called on the government to provide additional funding to tackle climate change.

The participants of this webinar argued for developing a digital risk mapping and index, taking a gender responsive and human rights-based approach, engaging people’s voice, focusing and investing more in adaptation and resilience building. They also stressed on establishing a joint taskforce which will allow policy makers and practitioners to take measures to reduce the risk in partnership with the communities.