Key Takeaways From PM’s Article
- Re-ordering Top-Down approach a must to facilitate frontline climate battle
- World needs to double down on adaptation finance
- Climate victims must in charge of the fightback
- Only 2 percent of climate adaptation fund reaches local climate-resilience projects
- Local initiative must be funded and trained better to win the race
- Bangladesh emerged as the frontline commander of this Hercules’ battle
- Mongla Adaptation Plans a blueprint for other towns and cities adapting to climate change
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has coauthored an article on climate change with the Global Center on Adaptation CEO Patrick Verkooijen in the famous American weekly news magazine, Newsweek.
The article was published on November 30 while the global leaders convened for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to find ways to fight climate change impact globally.
You Can Also Read: Bangladesh Becoming Resilient in Climate Change and Environment
In her thoughtful article, Prime Minister urged global leaders to rethink the top-down approach of climate adaptation finance.
“Global leaders convening for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai need to understand that their top-down approach can never work. Rather, we need to put the victims in charge of the fightback and fund their battle.” She wrote.
Climate disaster is not only theoretical now but it is already unleashing typhoons and floods on communities, and spreading hunger through crop failures and drought.
“Only a tiny fraction of climate funding reaches the people battling the worst effects of climate change—they are without the resources needed to protect themselves and their livelihoods, leaving them more vulnerable. Climate injustice is being exacerbated.” Prime Minister wrote.
Stressing the crying need to relocate climate funding to locally-led climate-resilience initiatives, Sheikh Hasina said that climate action at a global level makes no sense unless it helps protect people on the frontlines of climate change.
She however calls to think a new approach.
“At COP28, the world needs to double down on adaptation finance. The Loss and Damage Fund must become fully operational so we can respond rapidly and urgently to meet the needs of local communities to rebuild infrastructure and adapt more effectively to climate impacts. “
Global to Local: Down-top approach a must
Sheikh Hasina pledged developed finance providers to increase on average annual climate adaptation funding flows by at least 16 percent to reach $40 billion by 2025, as pledged at COP26 in Glasgow.
The adaptation fund must flow from the developed countries to the developing nations like Bangladesh, who are battling the worst from the frontline.
“Yet adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined 15 percent in 2021 to $21.3 billion. That is too little. Yet less than 6 percent of this sum, and perhaps as little as 2 percent, reaches climate-resilience projects led by local communities.” Sheikh Hasina wrote.
Estimates vary due to a lack of properly tracking and reporting money flows—and this needs to improve. But it’s also because climate policy and decision-making flow from the top down.
Sheikh Hasina emphasized that we must encourage and empower locals (Climate Frontliners) to implement their projects to protect themselves against the consequences of climate change.
But this is not easier than just empty promises.
Local communities often lack the time and skills to manage longer-term projects aimed at strengthening climate resilience. They need help and training to draw up project proposals, and to access funding they need basic things such as legally constituted organizations and bank accounts.
Bangladesh: Foremost commander in Climate Battle
Bangladesh has emerged as a proactive nation in addressing climate change. Despite contributing less than 0.47 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, the country has implemented various initiatives in the recent past to encourage investments in climate change mitigation.
A key strategy involves the adoption of a fiscal framework aimed at directing additional resources towards endeavors related to adaptation. Simultaneously, the introduction of new environmental guidelines serves to encourage green financing, promote the principles of green banking, and establish dedicated funds.
Furthermore, marking a noteworthy accomplishment, the Prime Minister secured the prestigious ‘Champion of the Earth’ award in 2015, the highest environmental honor bestowed by the United Nations.
Bangladesh has admirably addressed its climate adaptation gap, setting a commendable example for other nations to emulate. By introducing the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) in 2009 and establishing the Climate Change Trust Fund to fund BCCSAP-related projects, they have showcased a proactive stance in the battle against climate change.
Through the strategic allocation of investments and the implementation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, the government aspires to facilitate the enduring development of the country’s delta and river systems, fostering the responsible management of water and land resources over the long term.
“The Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan makes it easier to access low-interest loans for adaptation, has a climate risk fund to train communities and local governments to lead adaptation, expands green banking services, and explores paying communities for ecosystem services.” The premier wrote.
Through the Global Hub on Locally Led Adaptation in Dhaka, the government is also helping scale up solutions and share best practices with other vulnerable regions of the world. These efforts are already achieving dramatic improvements on the ground.
From Challenges to Opportunities
Over the last decade, nearly 700,000 Bangladeshis were displaced on average each year by natural disasters, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
In Mongla, the second-largest seaport in Bangladesh, the mayor and residents are drawing up a plan to identify economic opportunities in their climate challenges. Like other major cities, Mongla has seen a large influx of climate migrants even as it struggles with rising sea levels that are contaminating the city’s fresh water supplies.
Mongla is mapping settlements, identifying key climate vulnerabilities, and developing locally led initiatives.
With the support of the U.K. and Canadian governments working through BRAC, an international development agency, and the Global Center on Adaptation, it is hoped that Mongla’s People’s Adaptation Plans might become a blueprint for other towns and cities adapting to climate change.
This shows us that locally led adaptation is the way forward. But we need to massively scale up these approaches. For that, we need to find ways to finance local communities, without creating undue risk for donors.
Strong intermediary organizations can be valuable here to act as a transmission belt to accelerate People’s Adaptation Plans into the portfolio of large financiers, including international finance institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
“COP28 will only be a success if it achieves real benefits for the communities most affected by the climate crisis. This year’s climate summit must ensure that finance flows to the poor communities most affected by climate change, and into locally led, appropriate, and effective adaptation. If we achieve this, the world will have taken a big step toward redressing the gross injustices of climate change.” Prime Minister wrote.
Sheikh Hasina’s Suggestions To Address Climate Change Impact
PM Sheikh Hasina placed five suggestions to address the issue of the impact of climate change on human mobility
She put the roadmap at the 114th Session of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Council virtually on November 28.
“First, we need to address the climate impact of human mobility in a rights-based manner in line with the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration;
Second, we should consider the situation of climate migrants through the lens of climate justice to find context-specific solutions for the loss and damage they suffer.
Third, we must get prepared at local, national, and international levels to look at migration as a climate adaptation strategy where it proves to be the best possible solution;
Fourth, we need to review the existing international protection standards to repurpose them for climate migrants, especially women, children, and other vulnerable groups; and
Fifth, we should invest in well-researched data and evidence on the impact of climate change on human mobility to build an objective case for it beyond narrow political considerations.”
Sheikh Hasina is prime minister of Bangladesh.
Patrick Verkooijen is CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation.