Bangladesh is on the verge of losing $50 million (around Tk4 billion) of climate funds because of tension between the World Bank and donors, as well as lack of government commitment.
Even as the government is scrambling to find funds for dealing with climate change impacts, donors have decided to pull the plug on the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF).
Set up with foreign funds six years ago, the fund has not been successful in its intent or purpose, according to an evaluation by UK Aid which is a major donor.
It also observes that there was a lack of commitment by the Bangladesh government to the BCCRF, which might have been “due to competition from the nationally-owned Bangladesh CC Trust Fund (BCCTF)” set up with Bangladesh's own resources.
According to the sources aware of this turn of events, the resilience fund will be officially closed out by December 2016, although its functions may be allowed to continue until June next year. The remaining money, to the tune of $50 million, in the fund will thereafter be returned.
The fund received around $130 million from a number of donors, including the European Union, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, the UK and the US since its inception.
The World Bank did not have any comments regarding UK Aid’s observation and did not comment when the Dhaka Tribune contacted its Dhaka office on Sunday.
Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, who is the government’s focal point as far as the resilience fund is concerned, said the government has been discussing the issue with the donors to make sure the money stays in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is considered at the top of the most vulnerable countries to the negative impacts of global warming, according to studies of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the highest body on climate change.
The IPCC has also predicted a loss of a fifth of Bangladesh’s land to submergence, uprooting around 30 million people. Along with other smaller countries, also vulnerable to climate change fallouts, Bangladesh direly needs billions on adaptation.
The donor agency’s report states that the World Bank’s Trust Fund model led to much tension between donors and the bank over the slow delivery of BCCRF.