Bangladesh’s Call For Climate Finance Justice: Assessing Progress And Urging Global Commitment – OpEd


On December 10, 2023, Bangladesh vehemently called upon developed nations to honor their commitment to providing $100 billion in climate finance. Speaking at the COP-28 in Dubai, UAE, Environment Minister Md Shahab Uddin underscored the imperative need to bolster key climate funds, namely the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), Adaptation Fund (AF), and GEF Trust Fund. Emphasizing the urgency of this matter, Minister Uddin urged for the augmentation of these funds with sufficient resources and the facilitation of quick and accessible access.

During the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in 2009, developed nations pledged to collectively generate $100 billion annually by 2020 to support climate initiatives in developing countries, contingent on meaningful mitigation efforts and transparent implementation. This commitment was formalized during COP16 in Cancun and reaffirmed at COP21 in Paris, extending the target to 2025. In 2021, the total climate finance contributed and mobilized by developed countries for developing nations reached $89.6 billion, marking a notable 7.6% increase from the previous year. Public climate finance, including both bilateral and multilateral sources, nearly doubled from $38 billion to $73.1 billion between 2013 and 2021, constituting the majority of the $89.6 billion total in 2021. Adaptation finance experienced a $4 billion (-14%) decline in 2021, causing its share of total climate finance to decrease from 34% to 27%. Concurrently, cross-cutting finance rose from $6 billion in 2020 to $11.2 billion in 2021. Mobilized private climate finance, with comparable data available only from 2016, amounted to $14.4 billion in 2021, representing 16% of the total. Despite these efforts, it is acknowledged that the current levels are still insufficient.

In lieu of arbitrary benchmarks, the nascent objective necessitates a meticulous quantification methodology that is both responsive to the evinced needs of nations and characterized by a tracking mechanism grounded in consensus. Developing nations confront a dual imperativeness: simultaneous allocation of resources toward developmental pursuits and climate mitigation and adaptation, all while contending with the fiscal implications of loss and damage. The enormity of this exigency is underscored by the palpable dearth of electricity access for nearly 900 million individuals globally, coupled with the absence of a reliable social safety net for a demographic exceeding 4 billion.

The imperative to propel eco-friendly industrialization and diversification, augment public investment and social safeguarding initiatives, and fortify preparedness and responsiveness to the burgeoning specter of climate-induced disasters is contingent upon an augmented accessibility to financial resources. As posited by UNCTAD in 2019, the fiscal requisites for achieving concurrent climate and developmental objectives approximate $2.5 trillion annually for developing nations, a valuation presumed to have escalated subsequent to the advent of the pandemic and the protracted perturbations in economic and financial spheres.

Attaining financial modalities that are equitable, substantial, and politically tenable is within reach. Both UNCTAD and the United Nations, concretized through the IFA policy paper, advocate structural reforms in the global financial architecture to facilitate the judicious dispensation of climate and developmental finances commensurate with the requisites of the circumstance. Against such a backdrop, the imperative to redress this issue is acutely manifest.

However, expressing disappointment with the sluggish progress on climate finance agenda items, Minister Uddin stated, “The commitment of developed countries to provide $100 billion per year has not been met yet, and we have strong reservations on the methodology of calculation of climate financing.” In response to this, he urged the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) to promptly establish a common definition of climate finance, deeming it crucial for discussions on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) of climate finance.

Bangladesh, a nation affected by climate change, advocates for a balanced 50:50 allocation between adaptation and mitigation. Minister Uddin stressed the necessity of grant-based financing for adaptation, aligning with the decisions of the Paris Agreement. He highlighted the importance of new and additional public financing, firmly advocating for the doubling of the adaptation fund and robust support for National Adaptation Plan (NAP) implementation—prioritizing the 49 countries that have already prepared and submitted their NAPs.

Addressing the ambitious yet critical issue of emission reduction pledges for 2030, Minister Uddin pointed out that they need to be seven times higher to effectively achieve the 1.5-degree goal set by the Paris Agreement. Expressing gratitude for the historic decision on the Loss and Damage Fund of over $700 million, adopted on the conference’s opening day, he stressed the necessity for concrete political commitments by major emitters to address the emission gap.

Minister Uddin urged developed countries to take the lead in addressing climate challenges, emphasizing that developing countries would follow suit based on their respective capabilities. Bangladesh’s active role in advocating for climate justice and financial commitments at COP-28 positions it as a key player in the global fight against climate change.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has exhibited commendable efforts in optimizing its regulatory and institutional frameworks to pursue climate-resilient sustainable development. These initiatives encompass the development of crucial policies and regulatory structures aimed at addressing climate change and disaster management within the country. Over time, the government has introduced a range of policies, plans, and programs, showcasing a comprehensive approach to climate-related challenges. These include the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) of 2009, the National Adaptation Programme of Action (2005, updated in 2009), the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Act of 2010, and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of 2015 (enhanced and updated in 2021), among others. The fiscal year 2009-10 saw the establishment of the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) by the government, utilizing its own resources. To date, the BCCTF has initiated approximately 800 projects, amounting to an investment of around 480 million US dollars. These efforts align with the strategic objectives outlined in the BCCSAP, emphasizing adaptation, mitigation, and climate change research.

Additionally, Bangladesh adopted the Climate Fiscal Framework (CFF) in 2014 (updated in 2020) to ensure the climate inclusivity of the Public Financial Management (PFM) system. The budget allocation for climate-related activities has doubled over the past seven years, reaching TK. 25,124.98 crore (about US$ 2.96 billion) in FY2021-22, representing 0.73% of the GDP for the same fiscal year. Despite accessing resources from various international funds, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and others, the international financial support remains inadequate compared to the country’s needs. Bangladesh’s presidency of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) establishes it as a significant player in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Bangladesh stands as a global exemplar in Disaster Management and Disaster Risk Reduction efforts. The Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) boasts an impressive force of 76,020 volunteers, with nearly half of them being women. The country has strategically constructed Cyclone Shelters, Flood Shelters, Mujib Killa, and Multipurpose Rescue Boats to enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency are integral to Bangladesh’s commitment to a low-carbon development trajectory. The country is actively working on increasing its solar and wind power capacities and has successfully deployed millions of Solar Home Systems and Improved Cook Stoves in off-grid and rural areas, respectively. In addressing greenhouse gas emissions, Bangladesh has fulfilled its obligations under the Montreal Protocol, with anticipated results indicating a significant reduction in emissions by 2025. The ratification of the Kigali Amendment and the enactment of a Statutory Regulatory Order demonstrate Bangladesh’s proactive stance in phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2045. These initiatives underscore the nation’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.

Bangladesh’s resolute plea for climate finance justice at COP-28 underscores the persistent gap between commitments made by developed nations and the stark realities faced by climate-vulnerable countries. Minister Md Shahab Uddin’s critique of the inadequate progress and methodological concerns surrounding the $100 billion pledge resonates with the pressing need for transparency and accountability in climate finance mechanisms. The global community must acknowledge the urgency of the situation, as emphasized by Bangladesh’s call for a meticulous quantification methodology responsive to the evolving needs of nations.

The dual imperative faced by developing nations to address climate challenges while pursuing sustainable development necessitates not only financial accessibility but also a paradigm shift in global financial architecture, as advocated by UNCTAD and the United Nations. Bangladesh’s proactive stance, both in advocating for climate justice and implementing comprehensive climate resilience initiatives domestically, positions the nation as a key player in the global fight against climate change. As the world grapples with the exigencies of the climate crisis, concrete actions, political commitments, and equitable financial modalities are imperative to bridge the gap and ensure a sustainable and resilient future for all.

Syed Raiyan Amir

Syed Raiyan Amir is a Senior Research Associate at The KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

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