While the government was already under stress to support the poor amid Covid-19, it had to allocate extra resources to tackle the impacts of Amphan
The cyclonic storm Amphan caused great pain for the climate-vulnerable people in Bangladesh as they were already grappling with the Covid-19 crisis.
So, experts and civil society representatives highlighted the effective implementation of budget allocations considering the impacts of climate change and Covid-19.
They expressed the view at the webinar "Bangladesh Climate Budget FY2020-2021: A Civil Society Response," jointly organised by ActionAid Bangladesh, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and International Budget Partnership on Sunday.
While the government was already under stress to support the poor amid the Covid-19 crisis, it had to allocate extra resources to tackle the impacts of Amphan.
And the government released its national budget and published fourth climate budget report "Climate Financing for Sustainable Development: Budget Report 2020-2021" recently against the backdrop of two challenges: Covid-19 and a climate disaster.
According to the report, the government proposed to allocate Tk24,225 crore to 25 climate-related ministries and divisions in the fiscal year 2020-21 to tackle climate change.
The largest share of 41.25 percent went to food security, social protection, and health, while the climate-relevant allocation for knowledge management received only 3.5 percent, according to ActionAid.
And the climate-relevant share of the total budget to the 25 key ministries is 7.5 percent, it added.
Dr Saleemul Huq, director of ICCCAD, said, "The size of the allocation is obviously important for climate budget. But we have to emphasise the effectiveness and proper implementation of it."
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said: "The climate-vulnerable people have also been impacted by Covid-19. And we must find a way to address both crises. Our national budget is one of the key instruments to achieve that and it must reflect people's needs."
"There is a lack of coordination among ministries and departments concerned in making budget proposals. That is why the climate budget is not gender-sensitive."
Dr Munjurul Hannan Khan, an additional secretary to the government, said, "A comprehensive research on ways to tackle the dual impacts of Covid-19 and climate change is required."
He suggested forming a joint task force with the representatives from relevant ministries, non-government organisations, and the private sector to support climate-proof development planning and implementation of relevant projects.
Also, the demands of the experts and civil society representatives included sharing details and effectiveness of expenditure of the projects tackling climate change and Covid-19 crisis.
Addressing displacement and migration especially after Covid-19 needs to be one of the key priorities of the budget, they maintained.
Food security and livelihood restoration should be given the highest priority, they said.
The also demanded investment in skill development of the rural communities, increased allocation in flood, cyclone and drought protection and response to disasters; and protection of women and children from gender-based violence.