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.
Report also suggests migration could help ensure UK has necessary skills to meet government’s 2050 net zero target
New climate visas should be created to allow victims of natural disasters to come to the UK, and to bring in skilled workers needed for the transition to net zero, a Conservative thinktank has argued.
Onward, whose co-founder Will Tanner recently became Rishi Sunak’s deputy chief of staff, is urging the government to prepare for the likely increase in global migration as a result of the climate crisis.
The authors of the report call for the government to prioritise financial support for climate adaptation in developing countries, but also to open up new legal migration routes.
“We cannot allow climate-related migration to become the defining crisis of the 21st century. The government needs to act now to build climate resilience in the most vulnerable regions on the planet and open up safe and legal visa routes for those fleeing environmental disasters,” said the report’s co-author, Ted Christie-Miller.
Despite the hardline rhetoric on the illegal immigration bill by the home secretary, Suella Braverman, the authors suggest that welcoming a limited number of climate refugees would be consistent with the government’s approach.
The United Nations high commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that an average of 21.5 million people were forcibly displaced each year by sudden onset extreme weather events between 2008 and 2016.
Citing the UK’s recent acceptance of thousands of Ukrainian refugees and Hongkongers through bespoke visa routes, the report calls for the introduction of a natural disaster visa scheme.
With major floods and droughts already becoming more prevalent as a result of global heating, the authors suggest such a route could allow for a limited number of people displaced by climate events to flee to the UK.
These refugees could be permitted to stay temporarily in the UK to earn money to rebuild their lives – or potentially to remain permanently. The report does not specify how many such visas could feasibly be issued.
Polling carried out for the thinktank suggests such a measure might find only limited support among the public, however: 29% of people agreed the UK has a moral obligation to host people displaced by the climate crisis, against 41% who did not. Among 2019 Conservative voters, support was just 21%, with 55% against.
Separately, Onward suggests migration could form part of the answer to ensuring the UK has the skills necessary to meet the government’s target of hitting net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The report recommends a new environmental resilience visa scheme, which would involve the UK establishing partnerships with climate-vulnerable countries.
The authors suggest that under such a scheme, the UK would help to fund training in skills including “clean energy, construction, and disaster preparedness”, and could then allow some of those trained under the scheme to come and work temporarily in the UK.
Alex Chapman, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation (Nef), agreed that the UK has a “profound moral responsibility” to support climate refugees whose predicament was ultimately set in train by emissions from developed countries over decades.
But he said bringing in workers from developing countries was not the right solution to plugging green skills gaps.
“A better approach would involve a wholesale rethink and expansion of the UK’s own upskilling system, which has been left broken and neglected. Over the course of the 20th century the UK established one of the strongest upskilling systems in the world, but successive reforms and funding cuts have seen the rate of adult participation in education crash, and our national productivity stall.”
A NEF report suggested that something between 4.5m and 8.5m cumulative years of full-time training were needed to bring the UK’s workforce up to the level needed to shift the economy to net zero.
But Chapman suggested that could be achievable by 2030, if adult participation in training returned to levels last seen in 2001, before funding cuts.
“If there is one key takeaway from this synthesis report – for nations, businesses, investors, and every individual who contributes to climate change – it is this: we must move from climate procrastination to climate activation. And we must do it today.” – UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen
Humanity has the money and technology it needs to slash its greenhouse gas emissions but must act now to avert a full-blown climate catastrophe, warns a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body of leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations.
The Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report is the final instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report and condenses nearly a decade of climate science into a 37-page document.
It said the world is already 1.1°C warmer than it was in pre-industrial times, and that “deep, rapid and sustained mitigation and adaptation actions” are needed this decade in order to stave off the worst of climate change.
The report lays out the devastating effects of a world in the grips of a full-blown climate crisis, including extreme heat, torrential rains, hunger and water shortages. This pain would be felt by the most vulnerable, it warned.
The report is expected to guide negotiations at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai later this year and at the Global Stocktake, where countries will review progress towards the Paris Agreement goals.
It is, in the words of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, “a how-to guide to defuse the climate time-bomb; a survival guide for humanity.”
While it painted a dire picture of inaction, the report said the world has the solutions it needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate. Many are already being implemented, although not at the scale required, it says.
Systemic change needs to happen across all sectors of the economy, the report says. That’s especially true of the energy industry, which will need to dramatically scale back its reliance on fossil fuels while using carbon capture and storage for emissions that are unavoidable.
Wind, solar and small-scale hydropower plants can increase energy reliability and reduce vulnerabilities to climate change, the report makes clear. The transport sector needs to embrace sustainable biofuels and low-emissions hydrogen, although cost-reductions will be needed. Electric cars powered by low-emission electricity can help reduce emissions, while advances in battery technology could help facilitate electrification of trains and heavy-duty trucks.
The report also called on cities to weave cycling and walking into their development plans and ensure that buildings are constructed and retrofitted in a way that reduces energy consumption.
“As the report lays out, there are multiple options for policymakers to tackle the crisis,” says Maarten Kappelle, Head of Scientific Thematic Assessments at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “Climate-resilient development, such as improving access to clean energy and technologies, low-carbon electrification and public transport is vital.”
The IPCC report also highlights the fact that maintaining the resilience of biodiversity and ecosystem services at a global scale depends on effective and equitable conservation of approximately 30 per cent to 50 per cent of Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean areas.
Finance will be key to this, but right now, the report says, “finance flows fall short of the levels needed to meet climate goals across all sectors and regions.”
The report also highlights the importance of safeguarding developing-world communities grappling with the fallout from the climate crisis, including floods, droughts and rising seas.
“Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,” says Aditi Mukherji, one of the 93 authors of the synthesis report.
While the report didn’t contain any revelations, it cast a spotlight on the pressing nature of the climate crisis. In order to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5°C or less, the most ambitious goal of the Paris climate change agreement, the world will need to cut its emissions of planet-warming gasses by 45 per cent by decade’s end.
“This report is pretty much as expected,” says Kappelle. “We know that we are running out of time to achieve the 1.5°C goal, and this report makes it clear how much we need to do to have a chance of getting close to that target.”
The IPCC is the leading authority on the science of climate change, and its reports are used as roadmaps by governments to reduce emissions and tackle the climate crisis.
The summary report can be seen as a guide for the next decade, consolidating the conclusions of the six documents published by the IPCC since 2015. With the next IPCC report not due until 2030, this is seen as the last chance to galvanize action on climate change.
“The report highlights the fact that political commitment and international cooperation is key,” Kappelle says. “No one sector or country can do this alone. There needs to be real cooperation at every level.”
It was a sentiment echoed by IPCC Chairman Hoesung Lee.
“Transformational changes are more likely to succeed where there is trust, where everyone works together to prioritise risk reduction, and where benefits and burdens are shared equitably.”
CCDB hosted a session named on Adaptation technologies for building resilience to climate change: Bridging the global and local on Gobeshona Global Conference 3.
We introduced the adaptation technologies practised worldwide and the opportunities of the CCDB Climate Centre to the participants. It will grow interest in visiting the centre to understand climate impacts and their adaptive solutions from five different ecological perspectives. Stakeholders was informed about how to become part of this innovative capacity-building initiative with the perfect settings to host and participate in an ever-successful climate research, training and conference. Participants observed the effectiveness of agricultural adaptation strategies in Bangladesh’s coastal villages.
Deltas are biodiversity hotspots that drive economic development and house thriving cities, yet they are particularly vulnerable to climate change. They require urgent adaptation measures to prevent losses that could stifle entire economies.
Deltas are climate hotspots where people, food production, wildlife and economic development meet the impacts of climate change – yet despite their indisputable value, climate adaptation in deltas does not receive the interest and funding it… CLICK TO TWEET
The pregnancy rate among women in Koyra in Khulna and Shyamnagar in Satkhira is much lower, while the Southern coastal region of the country has been witnessing negative population growth due to the adverse impact of climate change, said Professor Ainun Nishat, water resource and climate change specialist.
“Salinity is increasing in coastal areas while hypertension is on the rise among both males and females. Climate change is successively building at the adverse impacts. Female reproductive rate is under threat,” he said at a discussion on “Integrated Community Development for Better Health Outcomes: Perspectives from Bangladesh” organized by URC, an international organization based in the US at the Sheraton Dhaka Banani on Tuesday.
He said that in Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat and Barguna, specially the southern thana’s population growth is negative, people are migrating. Bangladesh has suffered serious drought for the last two or three years, and crops are not harvesting in time.
“In Bangladesh, on the curative side, we have improved. We have lots of hospitals, lots of clinics, and some good doctors there. We need to pay attention to the curative side and public health activities as well,” said Ainun Nishat, also professor emeritus of Brac University.
The event highlighted promising interventions and good practices in health service delivery at the community level. Bangladesh has been a leader in public health research and implementation on a large scale for low-cost technologies provided at the community level
Conference moderator, Maureen Shauket, URC Chief Operating Officer, said: “New thinking and learning from the experiences of others is key to improving the quality of care and health outcomes in the communities where we work.”
CCDB Climate Centre hosted its 1st batch of Hands-on Training on Climate Adaptation Technology from 13th to 14th December 2022. The training introduced the participants to an overview of climate science and facilitated learning intensively 04 coastal-based climate adaptation technologies i.e. Vermicompost production, sapling production using coco-dust, vertical 3D garden, hanging garden and sack garden, followed by a guided tour to CCDB Climate Centre. The training applied the participatory learning-by-doing method to ensure the learning outcomes are entirely applicable in the field.
Mousumi Halder (Sr. Capacity Building Officer), Md. Kamal Hossain (Manager-Adaptation Technology) and Abul Kalam Azad (Upazila Coordinator-Bagerhat) facilitated this two days training.