Beyond aid but with climate fundby M Mizanur Rahman and Tasfi Sal-Sabil
‘FOREIGN aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries. ... No matter how well-motivated it is ... I would cut all foreign aid,’ the Texas congressman Ron Paul declared in the last debate in the Republican primary. Though his argument was not granted, it has some other implications as well.
If the United States denies giving climate compensation one day, the world will not be surprised. They will come up with a number of arguments like the poor countries are growing militants, they are abusing money, the US is passing through an economic recession, etc. It will first deduct the poor Muslim countries from its aid list or even all the other countries except Israel which, it thinks, is its greatest alley.
From 1950 to 2007, the US was the highest carbon emitter with an emission of 250 billion tonnes while the European Union and China emitted 210 and 104 billion tonnes respectively. Again, the US is in the second highest position in using energy per person. An individual consumes 7.8 thousand tonnes of oil on an average, which is 8.2 thousand tonnes in Canada, ranked highest, and 6.9, 6.2, 5.9 and 4.1 thousand tonnes respectively in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Japan.
Again, the GDP growth rate of the developed countries is very high. When the poor or developing countries are struggling to have 6 per cent growth, China has, in between 1990 and 2007, grown 437 per cent, India 185 per cent and the US 63 per cent.
Moreover, China has increased energy use by 127 per cent and India by 87 per cent. Both of these two economies are very adjacent to Bangladesh which contributes only 0.15 per cent of the carbon emission. Bangladesh, though in a very vulnerable situation, is going to be more vulnerable in the coming days for some more environmental and geographical adversities. These two countries are expanding from all the sides and their population, economy, industry, political power and almost everything is flourishing in such a rapid way that they may be a potential threat to the poor and weak states in future whether with a deliberate or non-deliberate effort. So, not only the western developed nations but also these two rising economies should also be responsible for our vulnerability and risk.
These two countries are intensely using coal for their production like some other developed countries. More than seventy countries have some coal reserves and some of them use this at random and some do not know how to extract it and how to use it in the industries. The largest reserves are located in the United States, China, India, and Russia. Coal consumption has grown 42.4 per cent since 1998 and now generates about 40 percent of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions. Its abundance, easy access, and low cost relative to other fuel sources lead experts to predict, based on current trends, a doubling of consumption in the next two decades, primarily in developing countries.
Numerous potential courses of action exist for addressing the challenges posed by climate change, including altering the mix of fuels the world uses for energy. Policymakers will need to grapple with the economic and structural costs involved with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the consequences of action exist for addressing the challenges posed by climate change.
Even, according to the UNDP (2011), ‘while this new landscape of climate change funds provides increased resources, it also brings increased complexity. Requirements, processes and reporting can differ among the funds and countries are faced with the challenge of identifying which funds are appropriate for them, how to collect resources, how to blend them together, how to coordinate the actions funded by them and how to develop the methods to monitor and evaluate the results. Given the diversity of funds, it is critical that countries can build on existing institutions and programmes to manage resources at the national level to support country driven objectives.’
In line with the UNDP argument, we can clearly see that managing the climate fund (whatever we get or going to get) is one of the major concerns now when building our own strategy needs to be taken into consideration. Climate fund needs to be managed not by a syndicate rather by well-trained and efficient different level experts who will ensure the transparent utilization of fund. Breaking the cycle or syndicate is not possible in a night. So, we have to create a platform for junior level experts or human resources. If we are able to facilitate these junior level experts or professional groups, they will bring a change and work as a big push for breaking the cycle of the elites.
Besides this, strengthening the institutional capacity to break the cycle and work in a very transparent way. We need to develop monitoring and evaluation process through capacity building of these experts. By training of the officials and creating mutual understanding between the government and non-government organisation we can enrich our capacity for monitoring and evaluation of the entire procedure.
In this regard, to ensure transparency, broad-based participation is indispensable. By making committee in different levels (members are selected from locality, civil society, government officials) for monitoring the process, we can maintain accountability and make sure transparency.
We can also take lessons from many empirical studies on different countries as to how they can manage their funds properly to ensure their priority. Then we can moderate it in our country context. Addressing the lack of documentation especially in the government offices or records of the process of fund management we can drive ourselves in the proper guideline. Sometimes we cannot identify what is the problem and which process is appropriate. Previous documents and records can help us to solve these types of issue.
These are some of the activities we can follow to ensure the proper fund utilisation. But simultaneously, some bilateral and multilateral negotiations especially with the neighbouring economies and enhancing our own preparedness and adaptive initiatives are important. Besides these, political instability, well-functioning but unstable markets, and lack of proper organisational arrangements have already posed threat to Bangladesh regarding the flow of foreign grants. If we lose external support, especially for climate fund, we can be seated in a bit safer position because aid dependency is always harmful for an evolving state like Bangladesh.
M Mizanur Rahman and Tasfi Sal-Sabil are both both development researchers.
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