The ministry-wise allocation for climate change-related projects has hardly increased during the last five years despite the country's high vulnerability to climate change, the government's climate budget report has revealed.
While some ministries are allocating more than 20 per cent of their respective budget to such projects, the proportion goes down to less than five per cent for a large number of relevant government agencies.
These were revealed in the government's "Climate Financing for Sustainable Development: Budget Report 2018-19" that has come out recently.
Prepared by the Finance Division, it provides a snapshot of the climate change-relevant allocations of 20 line ministries or divisions in relation to their total budget allocation from fiscal year (FY) 2014-15 to FY 2018-19.
The report found that while these 20 ministries/divisions together comprised 45.84 per cent of the total national budget of FY 2018-19, only 8.82 per cent out of their total allocation was climate-relevant.
Moreover, the total percentage of climate change-related allocation for these 20 ministries has increased merely 0.19 per cent during the last five years from 8.63 per cent in FY 2013 -14.
The report also showed that the climate-relevant allocation for operating budget of these ministries has decreased from 11.62 per cent to 9.48 per cent in between FY 14 and FY 19. But it has increased from 5.37 per cent to 8.26 per cent for development budget over the same period.
The ministries/divisions which were part of this climate budgeting include Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Ministry of Environment and Forests, and Local Government Division.
Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Food, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Health Services Division, Secondary and Higher Education Division, Rural Development and Cooperatives Division, and Road Transport and Highways Division were also included in it.
Besides, Energy and Mineral Resources Division, Power Division, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Industries and Ministry of Social Welfare were also part of the climate budgeting.
The climate budgeting report comes at a time when Bangladesh is well recognised as one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that by 2050, Bangladesh is set to lose 17 per cent of its land and 30 per cent of its food production due to the rise in sea-level.
It has been estimated that frequent natural disasters are directly causing the loss of 0.5 to 1.0 per cent of the country's GDP annually.
"In this context, the climate budget report aims at providing a detailed snapshot of climate-related spending subsumed in total public expenditure," said Ranjit Chakrabarty, project manager of Inclusive Budgeting and Financing for Climate Resilience (IBFCR) Project of the Finance Division.
"The report also aims at sensitising the relevant stakeholders, so that they can engage better with the policy development and monitoring while holding the decision-makers to account," he added.
An analysis of the report also showed that there are great disparities among the ministries in terms of how much they allocate for climate change issues.
For example, there are at least five ministries among those 20 ministries that allocate more than 20 per cent of their total budget for climate change-related activities.
These are Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Disaster and Relief, and Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
However, there are several entities, like Ministry of Land, Ministry of Industries, Power Division, Road Transport and Highways Division, Ministry of Social Welfare, Local Government Division and Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, which have allocated less than 7.0 percent of their total budget to climate-related issues.
"The problem is that most of the projects in our country are not formulated by keeping in mind the climate change issues," said A K M Mamunur Rashid, Climate Change Specialist of UNDP, which has provided technical support in producing the report.
"But, every development project should have a climate change component in it. For example, a road construction project should be formulated by keeping in mind what possible impact it can have on the surrounding environment and ecology."
"Climate change issue is regarded as one of the policy priorities of the government. However, as the figures in the report showed, this is not reflected in the ministry-wise budget allocations," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the climate budget report has also provided a breakdown of allocation as per the thematic areas identified in the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP).
By analysing the thematic areas, it was found that maximum allocation was made for food security, social protection and health, followed by infrastructure and comprehensive disaster management.
For example, out of the total climate change-relevant allocation in FY 2018-19, the share of food security, social protection and health is 46.01 per cent and that of infrastructure is 28.43 per cent.
Officials said they are planning to bring climate change figures of all the ministries under this climate budgeting reporting scheme from next year.
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