(This article was originally published here)
The Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) is the first ever national climate fund established by a Least Developed Country (LDC) and is an example to other countries for institutionalising national climate finance. The BCCTF funds programs and projects from the national budget to help communities recover and become resilient to climate change impacts. Operational since 2010, the fund is currently managed by the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust and (BCCT) and the government, and has allocated Tk2,900cr during the last six fiscal years until 2014-2015.
The fund allocation has been declining since the 2012-2013 fiscal year. It is learnt from the budget speech that the allocation for the 2015-2016 fiscal year has further reduced to Tk100cr.
According to the Planning Commission, Bangladesh spends about $1bn per year which is just over 1% of GDP fighting the impacts of climate change directly or indirectly. BCCTF includes a small but significant portion of the climate-related expenditure of the nation. Of the total Tk2,900cr allocated to the fund, 66% are for funding projects and 34% for responding to emergencies. As of June 2014, 218 government and 63 non-government projects have been funded with a committed expenditure of about Tk2,000cr. 56 government projects have already been completed as of October 2014. Some of the projects funded by BCCTF have earned national awards while some others have been criticised for various reasons.
BCCTF considers projects that fit with the priority actions and programs of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) 2009. An independent Trustee Board, chaired by the Minister for Environment and Forests (MoEF) heads the governance and management of the BCCTF. A thirteen member Technical Committee headed by the Secretary, MoEF is responsible for the selection and review of project proposals. There are two sub-committees under the Technical Committee. These two sub-committees are formed with experts and responsible for examining the projects which are extremely technical in nature. Bangladesh Climate Change Trust is responsible for ensuring efficient implementation of the activities funded by the BCCTF. Additionally, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) — a government owned company — is overseeing non-government organisations (NGO) projects.
During the period of project implementation, BCCTF funded projects are expected to benefit the climate-vulnerable people through the construction of 6,760 houses in cyclone affected areas, installation of 740 deep-tube wells, repair and construction of 142km embankments, provide solar home systems to 12,872 families, plantation of 143.35 million trees, and many other interventions.
Establishing BCCTF and developing its institutional arrangements demonstrate the commitment of the Bangladesh government to the issues of climate change. Institutionalising climate finance at the national level has lead to organisational capacity and experience required for effective fund management. It is time now to move it forward. Considering the reality and prospects of mobilising funds from government and other external sources, institutional mechanisms for fund management should be further developed based on the experiences gained during this period, otherwise, all these costly efforts might be washed out. However, there should be steady flow of fund and demonstration of the Bangladesh government’s commitment for institutionalisation of climate finance, which is not being reflected during the last few years in budget allocation.
Written by: Md Kamruzzaman, a researcher on climate change presently working with Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh as Coordinator-Research, Climate Change Unit.