In funding climate actions, we can be more creative


A simple $5 loss and damage aviation levy could be imposed on every passenger flying on any of the airlines under the jurisdiction of the UAE.

There are only a hundred days left until the start of COP28 in Dubai, set to be held on November 30, and already the world has crossed the critical threshold into what I call “the era of loss and damage,” and what the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls the era of climate boiling. July was the hottest month on Earth in over 100,000 years. We are therefore at a point that can be described as a new world of climate change impacts leading to more losses and damages than ever before. Just in the last few days, extraordinarily heavy rainfall in the Chattogram region of Bangladesh led to landslides that killed tens of people. The port city is still largely waterlogged, bringing misery to its citizens. Similarly, the US is currently facing the deadliest wildfire it has seen in over a century, happening in Maui county of Hawaii. Over 90 people have died so far, with the death toll expected to rise significantly in the upcoming days.

With all this in mind, one can say that we have left behind the old era when climate change was perceived as something that would happen in the future. As such, the upcoming COP28 should be considered as COP1 of the “new era,” where climate change is no longer a threat for the future, but one that is increasingly impacting the present. Leaders who attend COP28 will have to rise to the occasion with the sense of urgency that the crisis requires today.

The COP28 President-Designate, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, has been travelling around the world meeting leaders with the aim of conveying this sense of urgency. He recently made a brief stop in Bangladesh to meet the government and Climate Envoy Saber Hossain Chowdhury.

The president-designate also made time to meet with a group of young climate change leaders, for which I am grateful to him. One issue for which I have high expectations from COP28, concerning the fulfilment of the COP27 agreement last year in Egypt, is the setting up of a new loss and damage fund. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has set up a Transitional Committee (TC), which is tasked to come up with related recommendations by COP28.

However, having observed the UNFCCC process for over 27 years, I can predict that even with the strongest will in the world from the committee members – and they are all excellent individuals – they will most likely not finish the work and will come to Dubai asking for more time. But time is something we have run out of. So, unless the COP28 president and United Arab Emirates (as the host) make a declaration now, with a hundred days left, that they want a new loss and damage fund set up in Dubai and put pressure on the TC to deliver on it, I am afraid that we will end up with a lost opportunity.

Therefore, I would recommend that the UAE government make a declaration expressing its intentions to set up a new loss and damage fund by the end of COP28 in December. In order to push the TC to come up with something concrete, the country should declare its intention to make $100 million available for the fund and ask the TC to come up with an interim plan to utilise the funds immediately.

To procure this fund, a simple $5 loss and damage aviation levy could be imposed on every passenger flying on any of the airlines under the jurisdiction of the UAE. This would generate approximately $100 million in a year. A similar levy could be imposed by individual governments on the airlines under their jurisdiction. Take for example France, where a few euros are imposed on all passengers buying an airline ticket, which is collected by the airline. Then, the levy is passed onto the French government, and the amount collected is used to finance organisations implementing health programmes for developing countries. This practice has been operating successfully for over ten years. The French levy has nothing to do with climate change, but a new loss and damage levy would be justified as every air passenger is indeed a polluter.

There is no need to reach a collective decision by all countries or for all airlines. But each country, especially the developed ones, could decide to impose the levy on airlines under their jurisdiction and contribute to a new loss and damage fund. None of this would involve the taxpayer or the central government budgets of any country, but would be a nominal amount of a tax on air passengers who do in fact act as polluters.

Another aspect of this proposed levy is that it is a trivial amount – less than the cost of a coffee and croissant at any international airport – and will make absolutely no impact on the decision of a passenger to purchase their ticket. In fact, air tickets have no set price per passenger, as almost every passenger pays a different price for their ticket, depending on when they bought it.

I would urge the UAE government to take this idea forward and for the COP28 president to use the remaining days to talk to all his counterparts around the world and persuade them to contribute to the new loss and damage fund in December. If the loss and damage fund agreed upon at COP27 is not set up in Dubai, I will deem COP28 to have been a failure.

UNO visits the PCRCB Project of CCDB at Porsha


Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Porsha Upazila, Salma Akhter, visited the various activities implemented under the “PCRCB” project of the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB)’s Climate Change Program.

Upazila Project Implementation Officer Mr. Md. Dostdar Hossain, Chairman of No. 3 Chaor Union Md. Mostafizur Rahman, ward members and other dignitaries of the area were present.

Meanwhile, a courtyard meeting was organized in Danipukur village of No. 3 Chawur Union, organized by CCDB. In the courtyard meeting, 25 beneficiary members of the PCRCB presented the various activities implemented by the project. After the presentation, Mr UNO expressed his satisfaction with the project activities and gave various encouraging suggestions. She also informed the members about the various government facilities.

After the courtyard meeting, she visited the organic agriculture demonstration plot using various mitigation and adaptation technologies at the field level to deal with drought. The upazila coordinator of the project, Steve Roy Rupon, led the project in organizing the inspection.

Germany to boost funding for green infrastructure in 2024


Much of Germany’s funding boost will go to its construction industry to make new and old buildings greener.

The German government approved on Wednesday the allocation of €57 billion ($63 billion) in investments to tackle climate change, as Berlin pursues the goal of reaching greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045.

The money will go into the Climate and Transformation Fund, which was created in 2010 and back then, it only had a contribution of just some hundreds of millions of euros.

Germany’s Finance Ministry said the approved figure for 2024 represented an increase of nearly €22 billion, or 60.2%, from the 2023 target.

“We are creating the basis for decarbonization and digitalization which will create opportunities for the future,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner said about the plan.

Germany’s green fund is not part of the government’s regular budget and as such, it is not subject to debt limit rules.

It is financed by European and national emissions trading and carbon taxes on heating oil, natural gas, gasoline or diesel, which are expected to rise next year in order to keep the fund’s €57 billion target.

A bulk of the sum in 2024 will go to Germany’s construction sector, with some €18.9 billion in subsidies for building renovations and new buildings in 2024, the ministry said in a statement.

Construction Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) said that the financial boost could provide “important impetus for the construction industry” to make buildings greener.

Subsidies for renewable energy will also get a boost, with some €12.6 billion allocated.

Berlin is hoping to shore up the hydrogen industry, with €18.6 billion, as part of its plan to transition to renewables.

In terms of transportation, the fund will provide some €12.5 billion to Germany’s rail network between 2024 and 2027.

Likewise, on electric automobiles Germany will allocate €4.7 billion for the country’s e-mobility charging infrastructure.

Reducing reliance on China

Germany’s boost in green funding for next year comes as countries like the US have increased subsidies that threaten to lure European manufacturers and as China maintains its position as exporter of critical parts in green infrastructure.

o reduce its reliance on Chinese imports, Germany is investing €4.1 billion form the green fund in subisidies for local production capacity for raw materials and transformation technology such as solar power components.

Some €4 billion in subsidies will also go to support semi-conductors production next year as part of a €20 billion allocated for the industry, including some €5 billion just for Taiwan’s TSMC to build a factory in Saxony.

Germany’s Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, will take a look at the government’s green fund plan in September, with a final vote of approval expected some time in December.

Women-led community water governance



Mollahpara, a living place of approx. Three hundred families of Vamia village under Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira district. The story of the sufferings of acute potable water is not different compared to other coastal towns of Bangladesh. But how they manage the problem compels us to turn back the flashlight to them. The women of this place have come forward and taken the leadership role in solving the drinking water problem by themselves.

Climate change induces coastal salinity intrusion into the freshwater, for which 20 million coastal people are suffering from the crisis of safe drinking water in the coastal area of Bangladesh. Though water is an essential requirement of human life and livelihoods, access to safe drinking water is minimal for the people of these areas, which becomes extreme during the dry season. The rising sea level is one of the significant causes of salinity intrusion into freshwater aquifers. Natural disasters like cyclones, tidal surges, river bank erosion, and flood are very frequent in Bangladesh and pollute the freshwater with salinity and create an acute drinking water crisis. Initiatives have been taken widely by the government and non-government agencies to reduce the scarcity of drinking water by installing different adaptive measures such as Pond Sand Filtration (PSF), Community-Based Rainwater Harvesting, and Water Desalination Plants. But the mechanism for equitable utilisation and sustainable management by the community people was not in place, which failed to reduce the people’s suffering for a more extended period. It is essential to create access for vulnerable people to drinking water by different adaptive measures, and similarly significant to make it effective significantly for a more extended period.

Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) focuses on reducing the climate risk, especially for women and children, due to climate change impacts. The approach is to “Bring Women in Action” to reduce the potable water crisis and to establish a local-led management system at the community and household levels. CCDB facilitates women to raise their voices, initiate solutions and finally get them involved in management practices to solve problems.

“This women’s participation and leadership role is bringing positive social changes at the community level”

Traditionally in Bangladesh’s rural areas, women are the main ones responsible for collecting and managing water for the daily fulfilment of the families. The women of the Mollapara was seeking a suitable and sustainable source of potable water. Considering the crisis of almost 250 families, CCDB extended the support by installing a Pond Sand Filtering system at Mollapara of Vamia village in 2017 to fetch water from walking distance. Prioritising sustainable community management rather than creating some short-term solutions, CCDB mobilised the women of Mollapara
and formed a Management Committee to transfer the role for the sustainability of the efforts. The 30-member Women-led Management Committee established a
community water governance system in a participatory way where approx. Two hundred vulnerable families are getting access equally to reduce the potable water crisis. They developed a guideline on water distribution and transparently collected a minimum monthly fee for the maintenance of the PSF throughout the year. From 2017 to 2023, the continuous six years of successful management portray the effectiveness of women’s leadership. The excitement blooms in Sufia’s words, the leader of the group, “We, the women, were always treated as water collectors, now people used to call us the water manager”. The treasurer Taslima Begham described how they ensure transparency through monthly meetings and use the additional money for women’s welfare. The community fund, skill, and local management have been established through this initiative to serve women for a long time.

“Women play a central part in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water” was agreed in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. As women are closer to water resources, they mostly take responsibility for collecting water. So, Women have appropriate knowledge about the use and management system of water resources. CCDB’s ‘Bring people in action’ of this strategy gives room to the ‘Bring women in action’ to create equitable water access for people of the coastal community in Bangladesh. This women’s participation and leadership role brings positive social changes at the community level. It reduces the water conflict among community groups, provides safe drinking water, helps to decrease waterborne diseases, and uses natural sources (rainwater) properly. This women-led community water governance system can make the PSF technology a successful adaptation practice and be replicated by other
communities and development partners.


CCDB jointly conducted a short course on Coady Institute of St. Francis Xavier University


Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) and Coady Institute of St. Francis Xavier University, Canada have jointly conducted the short course on “Community-led Solutions for Climate Change” at Coady Institute Campus, Canada.
Twenty-one development professionals, academia and researchers from 12 countries of the continent of Africa, and Asia exchanged knowledge, experiences and learned together the practical solutions to tackle the ever-growing climate change impacts. This course has unfolded the path of contextual climate action planning based-on the calculation of climate risk and ensuring gender-responsive approach.
Md. Foezullah Talukder, Mousumi Halder from CCDB and Marian Turniawan from Coady Institute facilitated this two-week course from 19th-30th July, 2023.

International Sea Level Satellite Spots Early Signs of El Niño


A horizontal animated gif of sea level data at the equator from March 6, 2023 to April 17, 2023
This animation shows a series of waves, called Kelvin waves, moving warm water across the equatorial Pacific Ocean from west to east during March and April. The signals can be an early sign of a developing El Niño, and were detected by the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich sea level satellite. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In Brief:

Kelvin waves, a potential precursor of El Niño conditions in the ocean, are rolling across the equatorial Pacific toward the coast of South America.

The most recent sea level data from the U.S.-European satellite Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich indicates early signs of a developing El Niño across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The data shows Kelvin waves – which are roughly 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) high at the ocean surface and hundreds of miles wide – moving from west to east along the equator toward the west coast of South America.

When they form at the equator, Kelvin waves bring warm water, which is associated with higher sea levels, from the western Pacific to the eastern Pacific. A series of Kelvin waves starting in spring is a well-known precursor to an El Niño, a periodic climate phenomenon that can affect weather patterns around the world. It is characterized by higher sea levels and warmer-than-average ocean temperatures along the western coasts of the Americas.

Water expands as it warms, so sea levels tend to be higher in places with warmer water. El Niño is also associated with a weakening of the trade winds. The condition can bring cooler, wetter conditions to the U.S. Southwest and drought to countries in the western Pacific, such as Indonesia and Australia.

Sea level data from the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite on April 24 shows relatively higher (shown in red and white) and warmer ocean water at the equator and the west coast of South America. Water expands as it warms, so sea levels tend to be higher in places with warmer water. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite data shown here covers the period between the beginning of March and the end of April 2023. By April 24, Kelvin waves had piled up warmer water and higher sea levels (shown in red and white) off the coasts of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. Satellites like Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich can detect Kelvin waves with a radar altimeter, which uses microwave signals to measure the height of the ocean’s surface. When an altimeter passes over areas that are warmer than others, the data will show higher sea levels.

“We’ll be watching this El Niño like a hawk,” said Josh Willis, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “If it’s a big one, the globe will see record warming, but here in the Southwest U.S. we could be looking at another wet winter, right on the heels of the soaking we got last winter.”

Both the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organization have recently reported increased chances that El Niño will develop by the end of the summer. Continued monitoring of ocean conditions in the Pacific by instruments and satellites such as Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich should help to clarify in the coming months how strong it could become.

“When we measure sea level from space using satellite altimeters, we know not only the shape and height of water, but also its movement, like Kelvin and other waves,” said Nadya Vinogradova Shiffer, NASA program scientist and manager for Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich in Washington. “Ocean waves slosh heat around the planet, bringing heat and moisture to our coasts and changing our weather.”

More About the Mission

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, named after former NASA Earth Science Division Director Michael Freilich, is one of two satellites that compose the Copernicus Sentinel-6/Jason-CS (Continuity of Service) mission.

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS was jointly developed by ESA (European Space Agency), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), NASA, and NOAA, with funding support from the European Commission and technical support on performance from the French space agency CNES (Centre National d’Études Spatiales). Spacecraft monitoring and control, as well as the processing of all the altimeter science data, is carried out by EUMETSAT on behalf of the European Union’s Copernicus programme, with the support of all partner agencies.

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, contributed three science instruments for each Sentinel-6 satellite: the Advanced Microwave Radiometer, the Global Navigation Satellite System – Radio Occultation, and the Laser Retroreflector Array. NASA also contributed launch services, ground systems supporting operation of the NASA science instruments, the science data processors for two of these instruments, and support for the U.S. members of the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team.

To learn more about Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, visit:

When Climate Gets Under Your Skin


Surprising Ways Climate Change Can Affect Your Health

In Brief

From insect-borne diseases to seasonal allergies and “superbugs,” climate change is quite literally getting under our skin, affecting our health in surprising ways.

Second in a series on lesser-known impacts of climate change (see part 1).

If Earth came with a warning label, like the one the Surgeon General puts on cigarette packages, it might say something like:

“Warning: Climate change contributes to many well-known phenomena that negatively impact human health, including heat stress, extreme events, food insecurity, and poor air quality.”

Of course, not all the health impacts of climate change are as obvious or dramatic as those examples. Some are subtler, quite literally lurking under our skin. Here are a few.

Ticked Off

Cases of Lyme disease are on the rise in the United States and other parts of the world, and scientists believe climate change is a contributing factor. Lyme disease is a blood-borne illness transmitted by ticks to humans. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, but is most prevalent in parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. The disease causes headaches, fever, fatigue, and skin rashes. Untreated, it can affect the heart, joints, and central nervous system. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially reports about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease each year.

These maps show the average risk of encountering Lyme-disease carrying ticks in central and eastern Canada; the risk is directly related to the number of adult deer ticks per square kilometer. The highest risk values (dark red) expanded significantly on the southern half of the 2015 map. Researchers mapped where the ticks have become established by combining field data of tick surveillance from previous research, NASA satellite data, and temperature data from meteorological stations. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using data from Kotchi, Serge, et al. (2021)

Researchers recently found that the risk of Lyme disease is expanding north in Canada. This is happening as global temperatures warm and areas become more habitable to ticks. The scientists combined NASA satellite data with field data of tick surveillance and weather station data to predict habitats suitable to deer ticks.

Previous research demonstrated how NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat satellite data can help predict the risk of Lyme disease in high-exposure areas. Scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center and New York Medical College combined Landsat imagery with geographic information system technology that helps manage, analyze, and visualize geographic data. They found residential areas covered by plants and trees and located adjacent to woodlands had a higher risk of Lyme disease transmission.

Mosquito Miseries

Mosquitoes can transmit deadly diseases to humans, like malaria, dengue, Zika, West Nile virus, and chikungunya. As climate warms, the reach of some mosquito-borne diseases is expanding.

A 2014 study in the journal Science found changing climate conditions are allowing mosquitoes to migrate to higher altitudes and latitudes. Climate-related droughts and extreme weather events are creating new mosquito breeding grounds. Warmer temperatures are also allowing mosquitoes to breed more quickly and for longer periods of time.

Scientists are using NASA satellite data to track vegetation health, rainfall, and temperatures and monitor environmental conditions favorable to mosquitoes. This allows them to predict where mosquitoes may breed and spread illness.

Changing climate conditions are allowing disease-carrying mosquitoes to expand their reach around the world. In the Peruvian Amazon, scientists are developing a system that uses NASA satellite and other data to help forecast malaria outbreaks at the household level months in advance and prevent them from happening. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng

As reported in 2017, NASA-funded researchers partnered with the Peruvian government to help forecast and prevent malaria outbreaks. They used the Land Data Assimilation System (LDAS), a land-surface modeling effort supported by NASA and other organizations that provides data and analysis on rain and snow, temperature, soil moisture, and vegetation. LDAS helped researchers identify where mosquito breeding grounds were likely to form.

Nothing to Sneeze At

Climate change appears to be making seasonal allergies worse.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 24 million Americans suffer from hay fever and about 10 million suffer from asthma. Each year, weeds, grasses, and trees release massive amounts of tiny pollen spores into the air to allow the plants to reproduce. That pollen gets into our eyes, ears, noses, and throats, which makes lots of us sneeze and itch, and can make breathing especially difficult for asthma sufferers.

A woman in a red blouse covering their nose and mouth with a white tissue in their hand. They have their eyes closed. They are surrounded by a field of yellow flowers and there is a blue sky with white clouds above them.
Climate change appears to be making seasonal allergies worse. Warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels are increasing the amount of pollen in the air and leading to longer allergy seasons. Credit: Pixabay

Warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels are causing plants to bloom earlier and produce pollen longer each year. This is leading to more pollen in the air and a longer allergy season. A 2012 study found longer growing seasons may cause U.S. pollen levels to more than double by 2040.

A University of Maryland-led team investigated how changes in the timing of spring’s arrival affected asthma hospitalizations. They used the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, derived from NASA satellite observations, to determine the arrival of spring by showing the relative “greenness” of vegetation. The early onset of spring (10 days early) was linked with a 17% increase in Maryland asthma hospitalizations from 2001 to 2012.

Zombie Superbugs

“Superbugs” are viruses and bacteria immune to antibiotics and antiviral medications. They’re a nightmare for microbiologists and doctors, but especially so for the patients infected with them.

Frozen ground covered in a layer of ice. The land is not even, but rough with patches that are higher or lower. The land's texture looks similar to a quilt or the skin of an alligator. There are bits of yellow in the image from the Sun reflecting off the white-colored land. Other parts are gray from shadows.
Much of the Alaskan tundra is covered by frozen soils called permafrost. The polygon shapes in the snow are a sign that this permafrost is thawing. Scientists are concerned that thawing Arctic permafrost may re-introduce diseases from ancient viruses, microbes, and bacteria that could be resistant to antibiotics and may exchange genetic material with modern bacteria, creating “superbugs” that could threaten human health. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Charles Miller

As our planet warms, scientists are concerned that the thawing of frozen Arctic soils (permafrost) may re-introduce diseases from ancient microorganisms that have been locked away in a frozen, dormant state for a million years or longer. A single gram of permafrost soil can contain thousands of microbial species. Some of these viruses, microbes, and bacteria could be resistant to antibiotics. Scientists worry antibiotic-resistant permafrost organisms could exchange genetic material with modern bacteria, creating superbugs.

Recent NASA-led research has cataloged these potential hazards. A study led by Kimberley Miner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory examined the biological, chemical, and radioactive materials stored in ice, snow, and permafrost. The researchers noted that re-introducing ancient microorganisms back into the Arctic environment could disrupt ecosystems, kill wildlife, and put human health at risk.

Studies show about two-thirds of permafrost near the Arctic land surface may thaw by 2100. More than three million people live on permafrost in Earth’s high northern latitudes, and Arctic commerce, resource extraction, tourism, and populations are rising. This increases the risk humans may be exposed to emerging hazards and then transport them globally.

CCDB arranged a ToT on Disaster Management, WDMC operational procedure and Beneficiary & IGA selection process


Giving TOT to project front liners is vital to make them efficient as they are the most important change-makers of society through implementing any development program or Project. A three-day training was arranged from 7th May to 9 May 2023 at CCDB Hope Center to achieve this goal.
The training was planned to make the whole STEP & Building Project’s Program Staff (Incl. all partners) in active facilitation roles on the WDMC rollout for building a climate-induced disaster-resilient society through the whole society approach.
The modules included Disaster Management Issues, Basic Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Resilience, Facilitating WDMC in people organization approach, WDMCs Change structure and roles by Community Climate Resilience approach (CCRC), AIGA selection procedure, process and staffs facilitation skills demonstration, Result Based Management (RBM) Approaches covering RBM principal, RBM Process, Implementation, and Facilitation Challenges and overcome Strategies.

Youths- the future of A Resilient Society


Youth leadership is crucial to tackling the current and upcoming climate crises, particularly for Bangladesh’s coastal regions. The young people of this region can be powerful advocates in the fight against climate change.
To build the capacity of 20 enthusiastic youths from the villages of Bangladesh’s coastal regions, a two-day training on “Youth Advocacy and Action Plan on Climate Change” was arranged.
Taking a far-reaching vision of building youth leadership Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh – CCDB and CCDB Climate Centre, initiated this journey in partnership with YouthNet Global in the Coastal district of Bagerhat.

How will our climate budget look post-NAP2050?


Two facts related to climate-relevant funding in Bangladesh fascinate me. First, between 2015-16 and 2022-23 fiscal years, Bangladesh allocated 7.26-8.1 percent of its annual national budget as climate budget, which is 0.7-0.8 percent of the national GDP. Second, 18 years ago, the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) estimated to invest $73.5 million in climate change adaptation over the following few years. But such strategic planning magnified manyfold in October 2022, when the government approved the National Adaptation Plan, 2023-2050 (NAP2050), targeting to spend $230 billion over the next three decades.

Since the government is now preparing its annual national budget for FY2023-24, what changes can we expect to see in the climate-relevant allocations, post-NAP2050?

I think we can expect three specific achievable changes in the forthcoming climate budget. First, in the current fiscal year, with a total climate budget of Tk 30,500 crore, the three ministries or divisions (out of 25) with the highest climate allocations are Ministry of Agriculture (Tk 8,667 crore), Local Government Division (Tk 3,768 crore), and Ministry of Water Resources (Tk 3,484 crore). In addition, the climate budget also shows allocations against six thematic areas of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, 2009. Here, the highest allocation is made to food security, social protection, and health (41.87 percent), followed by infrastructure (27.78 percent), mitigation and low-carbon development (13.36 percent), comprehensive disaster management (7.21 percent), capacity-building and institutional strengthening (6.71 percent), and research and knowledge management (3.07 percent). These thematic allocations broadly match the ministerial allocations.

In the FY2023-24 budget, we also need to see the geographical distribution of the climate allocations. The NAP2050 contains the latest climate vulnerability maps of Bangladesh considering a wide range of shocks (e.g. cyclones and floods) and stresses (e.g. rise of sea level and salinity intrusion), prepared by the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS). The CEGIS can help the Finance Division to prepare maps combining climate fund allocations against the degree of climate vulnerability. These maps should carry information down to the upazila level, if union-level information is not available for now. We indeed need to know how much money is going to Dhaka and how much to Dacope (Khulna), Derai (Sunamganj) or Dimla (Nilphamari).

Second, in the forthcoming climate budget, a separate section should be added on investments to be made in nature-based solutions (NbS) to tackle climate change. Here, NbS means to protect, restore, create, and manage aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems to adapt to climate change impacts as well as reduce carbon dioxide in the air, while increasing the local biodiversity. Focusing on NbS has two specific rationales. First, the NAP2050 has already included NbS as one of its six main goals. Second, unlike climate finance, our conservation finance is poorly defined and is essentially made of project-based, short-term investments.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and its concerned departments are showing low interest in sustainable conservation financing. Therefore, we are not going to see much progress in establishing new funds as outlined in the Ecologically Critical Area Management Rules, 2016, the Protected Area Management Rules, 2017, and the Bangladesh Biodiversity Act, 2017 any time soon. But the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, agreed upon by 188 countries in December 2022 in a global biodiversity meeting in Montreal, Canada, emphasises conservation finance to minimise the current annual gap of $700 billion.

By incorporating NbS allocations into Bangladesh’s climate budget, we can essentially bring together financing of two biggest crises of our times: climate emergency and biodiversity loss. The environment ministry should work with the finance authorities to develop a tool to collate investments in NbS by different government agencies every year. Our experience of preparing climate budgets should be useful here.

Over the last two years, Bangladesh has developed two climate-related investment plans: the draft Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan 2030 (MCPP2030) and the NAP2050. The climate budget for FY24 should track how many of these financial targets have been achieved or have received commitments from donors and development partners. If we look into the NAP2050, about 72.5 percent of the $230 billion fund has to be invested by 2040. This means the country needs to triple its current yearly investment, which now stands just above $3 billion.

In 2016, with FAO and USAID, the environment ministry prepared the Bangladesh Country Investment Plan for Environment, Forestry and Climate Change (EFCC-CIP). This CIP was supposed to be accompanied by a monitoring mechanism to track investments in these sectors until 2021, but it didn’t work out. Based on past experience, the ministry and FAO can work with the finance authorities to develop a monitoring and reporting tool to track investments to implement the NAP2050.

The NAP2050 is an ambitious plan with 113 priority actions in crucial sectors ranging from water, disaster management, agriculture, nature conservation and urban, to policy, institution, capacity-building and research. If the NAP2050 can’t make us rethink the way we prepare our climate budget, that will be a missed opportunity.

Dr Haseeb Md Irfanullah is an independent consultant working on environment, climate change, and research systems.