©UNDP Bangladesh

With an aim to contextualise climate change risk sensitive local development, Union Parishad budget allocation for different sectors and to consolidate climate change risk informed planning and budgeting, an inter-ministerial working group, was proposed by the local government division, in a policy dialogue on 21 October 2020, at a hotel in Dhaka.

©UNDP Bangladesh/Amit Kumar

The policy dialogue on Local Government Finance and Climate Change, was part of Local Government Initiatives on Climate change (LoGIC) project, which is a multi-donor collaborative initiative of UNDP, UNCDF, EU and SIDA to support the climate change ambition of Government of Bangladesh; and implemented by Local Government Division.

In the current system, Union Parishad budget allocation is decided, based on just two indicators -- size and population of the area. These criteria lack the nuance to address more pressing needs across the country, and critically climate vulnerable areas are more deprived from development allocation. This cause two interlinked problems-development deficits in the climate vulnerable areas; and increase contest between development priorities vs. climate change priorities in local level planning by Ups during LDP and as a result hinders the objective of climate risk informed local development, which can be an effective way to reduce forced migration, development of local economy, sustainable food security and sustainable human development. Moreover, the country requires a consolidated climate risk informed local level planning and budgeting.

 “Savar gets more allocation than the southern river island Char Montaz. But the population of Char Montaz is far more vulnerable than the people of Savar,” mentioned Saila Farzana, Joint Secretary of LGD and the National Project Director of LoGIC at the policy dialogue. 

“The Senior Secretary has agreed in principle that this budget allocation system has to be changed, vulnerability should get a higher allocation rationale as well as we can earmark a certain percentage of the allocation for climate action. We are beginning our work to that end by forming a working group with members from relevant ministries,” she said, referring to the Senior Secretary for Local Government Division, Helal Uddin Ahmed, who was present as the chief guest at the policy dialogue.

UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative, Van Nguyen said, “Bangladesh is at a crossroad of development.” The success of this development would depend on the effective management of climate change, she added. 

“One size does not fit all. Context of every location is important when allocating budget,” said Van Nguyen, stressing on the importance of need-based, equitable funding allocation. 

Senior Secretary, Helal Uddin reiterated that Bangladesh is constantly exposed to a range of natural disasters. However, the government has made large strides to tackle climate change through infrastructure and capacity building, which includes establishing cyclone shelters in the coastal belt. “Due to the proactive efforts of different ministries, fatalities and damage from climate induced disaster have reduced over the years. It is also important to combat forced migration and ensure shelter and livelihood opportunities to the vulnerable communities,” he added.

©UNDP Bangladesh/Amit Kumar

Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change. Census data of the last three decades indicate that the density of population in climate-vulnerable areas has been at a decline, largely due to the shrinking livelihood options and recurring damages from climate-induced disasters. 

LoGIC is a multi-donor collaborative initiative of Government of Bangladesh, UNDP, UNCDF, EU and SIDA. The project aims to enhance the capacities of vulnerable communities, Local Government Institutions and civil society organisations for planning and financing climate change adaptation solutions in selected climate vulnerable areas. 

The project is designed to support roughly 200,000 most vulnerable households in 72 unions in 7 districts of Bangladesh -- Kurigram, Sunamganj, Khulna, Bagerhat, Barguna, Patuakhali and Bhola. The project will end in June 2023.

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