Civil society organisations tell govt
FE REPORT |
June 22, 2020 10:18:19
June 22, 2020 20:28:15
They also suggested prioritising issues such as displacement of people, migration, food security and restoration of livelihoods, especially in rural areas, in view of both the climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also, issues such as protecting the people living in poverty, increasing allocation for the health sector, shielding women and children from gender-based violence, undertaking flood, cyclone and drought protection measures and responding to the disasters should be considered while revising the budget, they said.
They also demanded that a joint task force be formed with representatives from relevant ministries, civil society organisations, non-government organisations and the private sector to support climate-proof development planning, implementation and the monitoring of climate-relevant projects.
At the same time, they advocated for investing in skills development of the rural communities, women, youths and men in line with the delta action plan as well as the economic growth the government is seeking to achieve.
The civil society organisations placed their suggestions at a ‘Climate Budget Press Conference 2020’, jointly organised by the ActionAid Bangladesh, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCD), and the International Budget Partnership, on Sunday.
In the proposed budget for FY 2020-21, the government has earmarked Tk 242.25 billon or 7.5 per cent of the total outlay as climate-relevant allocation, up from Tk 237.59 billion in the outgoing budget.
Hailing the proposed allocation, ICCCD director Dr Saleemul Huq emphasised the need for effective spending of the money, especially for mitigating the climate change impacts.
He also called for proper monitoring of the use of funds through involving the whole society so as to ensure the effective use of the money.
“Our awareness about the climate change has already been raised. But now we have to pursue greater knowledge, action, solution development and capacity building initiatives. We have to mainstream the gender and climate change issues,” Dr Huq said.
Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh Farah Kabir said proper management of the funds for the wellbeing of people has to be ensured.
She appreciated the priority given to the food security issue but cautioned the authorities not to overlook climate change-related impacts on the agricultural production.
“Since we got the budget amid Covid-19 pandemic, it should focus on recovery, has to be flexible and forward looking. Marginal people who are at high risks should also get priority,” she added.
Dr SM Munjurul Hannan Khan, an additional secretary, said that for the last four years, the government has been preparing climate budget, proposing climate-relevant allocations for the ministries concerned, which in the past were kept as block allocation.
He said only a few countries prepare their budgets by incorporating the climate change issues. “We need to highlight the issue of allocating money in the budget to tackle the climate change impacts globally, which can help us secure funds from various international initiatives.”
At the press conference, some participants raised questions about the quality of the construction of embankments which frequently got damaged during natural disasters.
They pointed out that the cyclone Amphan has recently wrecked several embankments in the coastal districts, which indicates low-quality work.
Director of the Department of Environment Ziaul Haque and Programme Specialist of UN Women Bangladesh Dilruba Haider also spoke.