bangladesh may 23DHAKA, MAY 23: Leaders of civil society climate networks and organizations on Thursday demanded integration of climate adaptation strategy in the national plan and forthcoming budget of the country.

They made the demand at a press conference held at the National Press Club in the morning. The leaders also demanded a review on the performance of two climate funds and raised questions on allocation and effectiveness of Bangladesh climate change strategic action plan (BCCSAP) and on the supremacy of the Ministry of Forest and Environment on it.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD moderated the press conference while Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD presented the keynote paper before the journalists.
Mizanur Rahman Bijoy of NCCB, Tapash Chakraborty of CSRL and Mainuddin Mahin of BKF were the other speakers. Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD delivered the address of welcome.

The civil society rights groups comprising Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) led by Oxfam, Climate Finance Governance Network (CFGN) led by TIB, Climate Change Development Forum (CCDF) led by BCAS, Bangladesh Indigenous People Network on Climate Change and Bio Diversity (BIPNetCCBD), Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD), Network on Climate Change in Bangladesh (NCCB), Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), Online knowledge Society (OKS), PRAN, VOICE, Nature Campaign Bangladesh, and Humanity Watch.

In his keynote paper Sayed Aminul Haque pointed out, in view of a UNDP report, allocation for climate in the national budget has been reduced down to 5.2 per cent from 7 per cent in the last three years where a number of projects have been included 28 out of 57 ministries and departments have only 1 or 2 climate projects each where inconsistently 9 of them have up to 102 projects.

Eighteen ministries and departments have no projects at all but the fact is, to build up a long term climate adaptation capacity in Bangladesh every ministry and department should have at least some projects to duly address.

Syed Aminul Haque adds, according to the same report, the government has implemented 1,316 projects in the last three years out of which only 3.2 per cent had strong relevance with climate adaptation while 8.6 per cent had significant relevance but in the remaining 87.6 per cent had little or somewhat relevance. This is quite conflicting with the long term goal of the government for mitigating the climate change.

Mizanur Rahman Bijoy said out of 107 projects from climate trust fund, a maximum of 26 projects has been allocated for Chittagong and 22 for Dhaka. But for the most climate impacted Khulna region only 9 projects have been disbursed, he added.

Tapash Chakraborty of CSRL raised question on the government response toward climate adaptation and integration for being much more rhetoric instead of being in real action.

He also demands to prepare the national budget through parliamentary process where demand should be identified by the climate affected people through their elected repre­sen­­tatives and discuss in the parliament to be finalized.

Published in The Independent.