Allocate 2.0 per cent of the GDP in the proposed national budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year (FY23) for climate financing in order to ensure a sustainable economy in the country, speakers demanded.
Environment rights activists and civil society members made the demand at a budget discussion. They referred to the poor allocation in the previous national budgets that were insufficient to protect the environment and address the climate change effects.
The experts also urged the government to include coastal infrastructure issues as a prioritised investment sector to achieve a sustainable and climate resilient economy.
The seminar was jointly organised by COAST Foundation, Center for Participatory Research & Development (CPRD) and Coastal Development Partnership (CDP) at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka on Sunday.
Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu, member of the parliament and chair of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock participated as the chief guest.
The seminar was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of COAST. Sharif Jamil, general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) and Sujaul Islam, ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, spoke at the seminar. The keynote was presented by Syed Aminul Hoque, director of COAST.
Aminul Hoque said that the government’s commitment to fighting climate change has hardly been reflected in the national budget for FY23. The allocated Tk 305 billion as climate budget is very traditional and unable to fulfil the demand in reality.
The government has prepared the Delta plan-2100, NDC 2030 [National Determined Contribution 2030], BCCSAP-2009 and recently drafted NAP [National Adaptation Plan] that require around 2.20 per cent of GDP to implement, but current allocation is only 0.69 per cent.
He also demanded in his keynote presentation that the government must ensure separate allocation for embankment construction, engage local government authority to repair maintenance of embankment and adequate allocation for climate adaptive agriculture research and development.
Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu opined that climate financing is important and needs to increase for holistic and balanced development in socio-economic perspectives. He demanded a separate ministry or board at least for coastal development issues.
Sharif Jamil said “We don’t expect the growth of a few capitalists and thus achieving socio-economic sustainability can hardly be possible by ignoring the environmental issues. The government will have to think about universal sustainability that would come from balanced planning of economic, environment and climate change issues.”
Bazlur Rahaman said, there are different problems and climatic challenges among the east coast, south-west and mid-coastal areas and planning should be developed accordingly. He demands special health care for vulnerable coastal women with acute suffering with reproductive health.