UNDP’s Rejoinder on Dhaka Tribune Story : How Bangladesh lost $67m in Climate Change Finance

Feb 1, 2017

We would like to strongly refute misrepresentations relating to UNDP and its work in the Dhaka Tribune story How Bangladesh lost $67m in Climate Change Finance published on January 31, 2017.  

It is unfortunate that UNDP was not contacted by the Dhaka Tribune for comment or clarification before the story was published. Had we been contacted, we would have drawn your attention to the following inaccuracies in the story :

Bangladesh did not lose $67m in climate financing as stated in the article. The proposal in question was not among the three UNDP-supported projects considered by the December meeting of the Green Climate Fund Board. In fact, the proposal is currently undergoing changes based on comments and concerns that emerged from a routine preliminary review.

The project has our full support and we plan to submit it for Board consideration in late 2017.

These facts can be easily verified by viewing the video of the meeting (B.15, Agenda 14.d, part 4).

Contrary to the assertion in the article that UNDP and the Government of Bangladesh ignored objections raised by the GCF, the decision to defer a review until the next board meeting was made to allow time to address those very comments made by the ITAP and Board members.

UNDP, as a long-term partner of the Government of Bangladesh, and an Accredited Entity (AE) to the Green Climate Fund, continues to apply the highest standards in preparing this important project for Bangladesh.  The project, when approved, will provide funding to support vulnerable women, promote resilient livelihoods, provide access to clean drinking water in salinity prone areas, and early warning systems to protect valuable assets.

So far, UNDP has supported 11 countries around the world to access GCF funding, and the organization is committed to provide the same level of expertise to Bangladesh. The proposal for Bangladesh is the first ever dedicated project aimed at protecting women and girls from the impacts of climate change. In this context, UNDP is currently working with the Government of Bangladesh, development partners, and selected technical agencies, to enhance the proposal as well as to include important site-specific analyses.

In addition to this, we would like to draw your attention to the following facts:

•    The Government of Bangladesh and UNDP worked together with the GCF Secretariat to prepare the project for the Board. Following a lengthy review process, the GCF Secretariat (including technical and senior managers) deemed the project ready to advance to the Independent Technical Advisory Panel (ITAP) for evaluation prior to submission for Board consideration. The ITAP provided written comments, followed by a discussion with UNDP, and suggested areas where additional details were required. Subsequently, based on their assessment, the ITAP recommended the proposal for approval by the Board with the requirement for additional details to be provided during implementation -- specifically in year one. This type of recommendation is not unusual. It recognizes the resource burden that developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries, face to produce highly granular and site-specific information prior to assurance of funding.

•    The proposal was formulated through a robust technical assessment and in consultation with relevant stakeholders. Following comments from the ITAP and some board members, UNDP in consultation with the government of Bangladesh, in close collaboration with the GCF Secretariat and supported by several local partners, is working on gathering and incorporating site specific information and evidence requested by the GCF. The proposal will be submitted to the Board upon completion of site-specific assessments in over 39 Unions in the districts of Satkhira and Khulna.

•    With respect to rainwater harvesting versus storage, the current proposal does indicate the use of rooftops as catchment areas for collection, with beneficiaries using specific distribution points for access to water. The site-specific information in the updated proposal will yield a range of appropriate solutions for potable water.

•    Regarding the use of a specification from a particular company -- this was clarified to the GCF assessment panel during the initial review process. For the record, the selection of suppliers during project implementation would follow Government and UNDP Procurement Policies that involve an open tender process for local and international companies. There was never an indication, intent or scope expressed in the proposal to use any single source supplier in the project. The cost estimate was only used for a budget estimate. The final budget will include contingencies for variation in price and installation that would become apparent during the procurement process, during implementation.

UNDP is committed to supporting the Government of Bangladesh in protecting vulnerable people and communities from the impacts of climate change.

 

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