Dhaka, Bangladesh
Climate change hits country worst

Climate change hits country worst

World Environment Day today

News Report Bangladesh is one of the biggest deltas hit worst with climate change. The hostile impacts of climate change has disrupted the general economic development of the country. Bangladesh is very often encountering some sort of natural disasters. High temperature, sea level rise, cyclones and storm surges, salinity intrusion, downpours are taking place. Previously taka 700 crore was allocated for Climate Change Trust Fund in 2009 to manage climate change risks. But the allocation was gradually trimmed to taka 100 crore due to massive fund embezzlement and rampant corruption, it is alleged. Experts opine that environment ministry has turned into the worst and worthless one for its poor performance. Now the environmental degradation and adverse climate change impacts have emerged as serious challenges for the country. But the Ministry of Environment and Forests has got poor fiscal attention in the new budget due to its 'inability' to take the lead role in dealing with environmental issues, said experts. Talking to UNB about the proposed budgets allocation for the Environment Ministry, noted environment experts Dr Atiq Rahman and Prof Ainun Nishat, and green activists Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (Bapa) general secretary MA Matin and Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) general secretary Abdus Sobhan said adequate funds need to be earmarked for mitigation measures and increasing greeneries as widespread development activities are taking a toll on the environment. They also said the government should raise the allocation for the Environment Ministry and take effective steps to enhance its capacity and turn it into a strong regulatory body to conserve environment and check climate change risks. The World Environment Day, 2017 will be observed in the country on Monday (today) with the slogan, 'I'm with nature', amid the green activists' disappointment over the insufficient allocation for safeguarding the environment. The government has set aside an allocation of Tk 1,120 crore in the proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 for the ministry. The allocation is Tk 730 crore, less than the revised budget of fiscal 2016-17. It was Tk 1,850 crore in the outgoing FY. Sought his reaction to the budget allocation, Dr Atiq said the climate change and environmental issues are not recognised adequately in the budget. "This is very unfortunate." "Bangladesh, in general, faces grave environmental and climate threats, which are evident in the dismal state of polluted urban areas and colossal agricultural losses due to erratic rainfall and flashflood in haor region," said Dr Atiq. Similarly, he said, though the casualties in cyclone Mora were fewer, it hit the poor coastal people hard by damaging their houses and assets. "So, much bigger allocation in the budget was needed for tackling the environmental and climate change issues." "It's of utmost importance that government finances adequately ensure people's participation in protecting the environment. Likewise, there should have been significant investment for tackling climate change problems through different agencies, local government bodies, NGOs and Climate Change Trust Fund," Dr Atiq added. Prof Ainun Nishat said the Environment Ministry should be made an effective regulatory body with efficient manpower, necessary authority and effective plans and programmes to protect the environment and check the growing pollution all around. He said the Awami League government in its maiden budget allocated Tk 700 crore for Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF) in 2009 to manage climate change risks, but the allocation has been reduced gradually to Tk 100 crore due to widespread misappropriation and corruption in using it. "So' it's important to make the ministries and government agencies concerned capable of utilising the fund properly with transparency." The renowned climate expert also said foreigners have stopped funding for climate change mitigation due to corruption, irregularities and lack of capability to utilise the money. Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) general secretary Dr Abdul Matin said the environmental issues are drawing less attention of the government due to very poor performance of the Environment Ministry. "I think this ministry has turned into the worst and worthless one as it has no capability, action, creative idea and plan and programmes to look after environment. We call upon the Prime Minister to give attention to the ministry to turn it into a vibrant one with skilled manpower and necessary reforms," he said. Abdus Sobhan said the allocation for the ministry is inadequate to protect the environment, check pollution and build the capacity of the ministry and departments and agencies under it to tackle the environmental problems. He said the government should increase its budgetary allocations for enhancing the ministry's monitoring capacity, stetting up environment department offices in every district with modern laboratories. "Now the environment department has offices only in 20 districts." "Environment should be the central consideration for budgetary allocation as the country is facing growing environment pollution and climate change threats. We hope the Finance minister will consider it,' the Poba general secretary said.

Share |