bangladesh june 18 2011DHAKA, June 14: Green activists at a seminar on Thursday called upon the government to give the climate adaptation issue almost priority in the national budget. Climate adaptation should be treated on a priority basis, with integration of all ministries, in the national budget, and special importance be attached to all the activities related to the issue to bring transparency in it, green activists suggested at the seminar "Is Bangladesh Prepared for Future Climate Change Problems, National Budget 2012-13 and Climate Change Adaptation".

Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) organised the seminar at the Jatiya Press Club, said a release of EquityBD.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, chief of EquityBD, moderated the seminar while Israfil Alam, MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment,

Sohrab Ali Sana MP, member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment and Forest, Saheen Monwara Haque MP, Ziaul Haque Mukta, Asia Regional Policy Coordinator of Oxfam, Great Britain also participated in the discussions.

Zakir Hossain Khan of Transparency International Bangladesh criticised the fund disbursement process of Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) run by World Bank.

There is hardly any transparency maintained in running the funds and 90 percent allocation of these funds were distributed for the non-coastal areas instead of the most vulnerable coastal areas, Zakir said.

There is a coordination gap between the ministry of forests and other ministries in implementing BCCTF and each ministry should have a plan of actions on integration of climate adaptation issues in view of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP), Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD said in his keynote paper.

Ziaul Haque Mukta of Oxfam GB praised the government for inclusion of the climate issues in its different planning documents, outline perspective plan, sixth five-year-plan, and also inclusion of clause "18. a" in the constitution.

He also criticised poor activities in implementation of both the funds. He further blasted absence of transparency and accountability in climate financing.

Israfil Alam, MP, and Sohrab Ali Sana, MP, also admitted the limitation of BCCTF allocation.

Moderator of the seminar Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD observed, there is little hope for foreign aid to come for climate adaptation as economic health of Europe and America is in a bad condition now. He urged the government to execute all the climate adaptation projects from the national revenue.

Published in The Independent