Lack of accountability, transparency everywhere
The allegations raised by a number of experts, mentioned in a New Age report on Saturday, about the selection of projects under the government-run Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund and their implementation, indeed, deserve serious attention of the authorities concerned. As an expert pointed out while the government is yet to set the criteria for determining which projects should be selected on a priority basis to benefit the people hit hard by climate change, it has already allocated the highest number of BCCTF projects to the capital Dhaka and its surrounding areas barely exposed to climate change effects. Moreover, the projects allocated to coastal areas exposed to climate change have been undertaken without any consultation with local people and, worse, there is a lack of adequate monitoring on part of the government. As a result, most of the BCCTF projects look set to fail to achieve their goals resulting in the waste of a huge amount of public money.
For instance, a number of projects taken under the BCCTF involve ‘cleaning up of rivers and an improved waste reduction’ in the capital, something supposed to be a day-to-day job of the waste management divisions of the two city corporations. On the other hand, there is a BCCTF project called the ‘construction of cyclone-resistant houses in char area in the Aila-affected district of Khulna’ under which the Department of Relief and Rehabilitation has been tasked to construct 6,000 houses spending Tk 24.42 crore. Regrettably, however, as the project coordinator of the Transparency International, Bangladesh complained, what have been built there so far in the name of climate-resilient houses are actually just some structures with a roof and a floor standing on four pillars.
When the incumbent government adopted the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan in 2009 giving stress on the six thematic areas such as food security, disaster management, infrastructure, research, mitigation and capacity building, it, indeed, raised high hopes among the people living in the coastal zones vulnerable to the worst form of adverse impact of climate changes. More importantly, the ethical section of society, especially the experts concerned, welcomed the initiative when the government started the implementation of the projects reported to be funded mostly by countries responsible for climate change on the whole with its own fund. With the allegations in question, however, there are reasons to conclude that what is going on in the name of implementing the climate change fund projects is shocking. It is all the more so because reports are also there that most of the contractors assigned with the task of project implementation are linked to the ruling party who are eager more to make quick money than to complete the work properly.
The government is well advised to look into the allegations seriously and ensure accountability and transparency at least in spending the BCCTF money.
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