Last month, from September 18-19, Transparency International-Bangladesh organised a two-day long discussion on climate finance and governance in South Asia, second in its series, with an aim to exchange views and share experience among development practitioners, scientists, and the media.
The participants came from various parts of the world including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Australia, Lebanon, and the UK.
The dialogue was an opportunity for development practitioners who are dealing with one of the core concerns of developing countries, climate finance, as well as the overall governance practices among the fund contributors and recipients.
The following are the major and highlighted speeches from the two-day long conference.
Though Transparency International (TI) does not have scientific expertise on climate change, it is easy to say that the developed countries have made the fund mechanism under the Green Climate Fund (GCF) very obscure and tough for the developing countries. The nature of the GCF, which is extremely conditional, is ultimately pushing the vulnerable countries to go for loans, instead of getting grants as climate compensation.
In addition to the developing countries’ transparency, we want to see the transparent attitude of the developed countries that are responsible for global warming, regarding their climate finance disbursement. Transparency, integrity, and accountability have to be ensured at all levels – nationally (in South Asian countries) and globally with collective efforts.
Dr Mizan R Khan
The amount of climate funds from developed countries is not clear because some of the developed countries have been mixing the climate finance with Official Development Assistance (ODA), though those are different.
Typical diplomacy is a zero sum game – somebody wins somebody loses – but climate diplomacy is a positive sum game, a win-win situation, because climate change is global. Developing saline resilient crop varieties is not only necessary for Bangladesh, it will be beneficial for all.
Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed
Climate finance is different from other financing, although we don’t have a clear and universal definition of it. The lack of definition is a great barrier to getting adequate funds for the vulnerable countries. But UNFCCC said it might go from developed to developing, new and additional and it will be different from ODA.
Financing for adaptation is neglected, as it very rarely generates revenue.
Sandeep Roy Choudhury
Adaptation projects might not generate revenue but it can ensure long-term sustainability.
Smaller projects in the community might be taken to tackle the impacts, in the absence of big money.
Spending money on projects here is very difficult due to the bureaucratic tangle, lack of clarity, as well as transparency, in projects. It is very difficult to go back to the EU and be answerable to our taxpayers with regard to how their money is being used in these projects.
Funds for loss and damage should be grants, not loans, and should go through a separate channel of a national body.
All the stakeholders on climate finance including government, NGOs, civil society, and the beneficiary should be present during the consultation process.
Dr Kazi Maruful Islam
Limitations in the democratic process and shortcomings of the ruling elites make it very difficult to implement climate finance effectively.
Dr Saleemul Huq
We have to build our capacity better. We have the problem but we need to solve the problems. To solve those, we need to build our own capacity. For instance, the UNDP proposal that was unofficially rejected by the GCF for its weakness should be used as an opportunity to learn from past failures and thus improve our capacity.
Capacity building is not a one-off. We have to transfer the capacity to the others to keep it going.
Gawher Nayeem Wahara
This year’s flood occurred due to a lack of governance. Lack of maintenance allowed the rainwater to break embankments and cause flooding. Water-logging in the southwestern part of the country happened due to a combination of corruption, low maintenance, and some people’s interest.
Mohammad Iqbal Hossain
The rate and timing of the world’s economic growth is rapidly increasing. While the US and the UK have taken 50 years to get to a double figure GDP growth, India and China took only 15 years. There will be more rich people and more middle class people in the world soon but there is a price to pay for all that.