Bangladesh: Government urged to integrate climate adaptation in the budget

Photo: EquityBD

Fifteen Bangladeshi civil society organizations urged the government to integrate climate adaptation measures in the national budget and to give thrust on self finance or local resource mobilization. In a press conference, the groups warned that it would be unwise to expect or depend on foreign aid in this regard.

The plan was proposed by the groups to the Finance Minister and to all legislators prior to the budgetary debate. The memorandum was prepared after consultations held in seven divisions, ten districts, four national seminars and twenty five group discussion, with the participation of climate victims and civil society organizations based on the climate change strategic action plan prepared by the government in 2009.

The group designed eleven priority actions: the construction of coastal embankment, long term steps to reduce river erosion, land zoning to preserve agricultural land, excavation of ponds and canals to increase reservation of surface water, inclusion of climate issue in all level of education, extension of BADC up to upazila level to promote local seeds, innovation of  alternative water source in hilly areas, improving drinking water and sanitation in urban areas, construction of housing in urban areas for slum dwellers, extension and more allocation in health service and population control.

They have also proposed reforms in the water development board, providing more authority to forest and environment in conducting trial of mangrove grabbers, integration of land and agriculture ministries for implementation of climate adaptive projects.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, chief moderator of the Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD), said that climate impacts are already vivid and acute, warned that the country can not wait for foreign aid to mitigate the damages.

When developed countries enjoyed good economic health, they hardly earmarked 0.7% of their gross national product to development assistance, and that goal will be harder to reach in the middle of the current crisis, Chowdhury noted.

The activist also said that it is possible to finance climate adaptation with local resources if the country reforms its tax system, minimizes corruption and revenue costs, prioritizes development projects and mobilizes local governments.

Badrul Alam (Bangladesh Krishok Federation), Mizanur Rahman Bijoy (Network on Climate Change), Jahangir Hossain Masum (Coastal Development Partnership), Prodip Kumar Roy (Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood/On Line Knowledge Society) and Mostafa Kamal Akanda (EquityBD) also took part in the press conference.

The groups that support the proposal are BAPA, BIPNetCCBD, CCDF, CSRL, CFGN, EquityBD, NCCB, BKF, OKS, CGC, CDP, BKS, Humanity Watch, PRAN and VOICE.