Saturday, September 20, 2008

Better use of donors fund in Bangladesh

A letter to the New Nation (Bangladesh): The United Kingdom has agreed to provide Bangladesh US$132 million as grants to recuperate the losses caused by floods and cyclone Sidr. This pledge has been made in the wake of UK-Bangladesh Climate Change Conference held in London recently. According to reports, Bangladesh incurred a heavy loss of US$1.7 billion in infrastructural and economic losses. Bangladesh will need US$5.4 billion to recoup the loss. Though the amount that UK offered is quite insignificant compared to what is needed, Bangladesh sees it as 'a beginning for more grants from developed countries'. It is a compensation package.

The above grant is intended to mitigate some of the havoc that Sidr caused. The fund has been earmarked exclusively for protecting houses, schools and farms against flooding and introducing new crop strains. According to reports, housing sector was the worst sufferer making up about 50 percent of the total loss while productive sectors and public sector infrastructure 30 percent 16 percent respectively. Priorities should be made while implementing the recuperation projects. Bangladesh is one the countries that will suffer the most from calamities like cyclones, floods, untimely and excessive rainfall, and droughts that are likely to rage over the country with increased intensity and frequency.

Every single action of the present recuperation drive should, therefore, be made a part of adaptation strategy. Without such a long-term perspective the present drive is unlikely to bring sustainable benefit.

According to reports, the responsibility for managing the Climate Change Trust Fund may be given to the World Bank. Any such involvement of the lending agencies is feared to lead to further conditionalities for the disbursement of the funds and to act as an impediment to swift climate change proofing of affected countries. Adaptation fund should be free from conditions. Donors should not dominate the show. Allow us to manage our own problems.

Residents of Rangabali in Bangladesh

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