Kamran Siddiqui::Bangladesh lags far behind its peer countries in formulating the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to face the challenges of climate change.
All countries are supposed to develop their respective NAPs under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Experts say Bangladesh is among the most vulnerable countries for climate threat, but it is lagging behind at least 33 countries who have already formulated their NAPs.
They suggested addressing the local adaptation plan in the NAP.
A project titled “Formulation and Advancement of the National Adaptation Plan Process in Bangladesh” under the Department of Environment (DoE) is still at a very preliminary stage.
The department could not initiate the work on the planned deadline of August 2018 and it wants to complete the job by the original target of July next year.
Bangladesh has received a grant of $2.55 million to formulate the NAP as per a decision of the UN Climate Summit 2016. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board had decided to give an assistance of maximum $3 million to each developing country for formulating the NAP.
Professor Dr Ainun Nishat, a senior consultant of the consortium of consulting group of NAP formulation project, said, “Around 20 countries have formulated their NAPs in English and 13 others in some other languages. But they have been lagging behind by more than two years in formulating the plan due to some technical complications.”
The eminent environmental expert also said they have started the work last week and hope to complete it within the 2021 deadline.
“We will finalise the duration of the NAP implementation phase after consulting with stakeholders and assessing the plan of other countries,” he added.
The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) is the implementing partner of the NAP formulation project, and the executing agencies are the DoE and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
They have recently selected the consulting groups through a tender to formulate the NAP.
Mirza Shawkat Ali, a director of DoE and deputy project director of the NAP formulation project, said, “Water resources, agriculture and food security, coastal zones, and urban habitation will be the priority sectors of this project.”
Regarding the delay in initiating the project, he said the NAP roadmap was prepared in 2016 and then sometime was needed to get the GCF fund.
“But it is not too late to formulate the adaptation plan. We will submit the NAP to UNFCCC before the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in November 2021 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow,” he added.
Evidence-based comprehensive NAP expected
The National Adaptation Plan will be formulated with a focus on the medium to long-term adaptation investments, according to the DoE.
It will also enhance the national capacity for integration of climate change adaptation in planning, budgeting and financial tracking processes.
M Zakir Hossain Khan, a climate finance governance analyst of the Transparency International Bangladesh, said, “The adaptation plan should be focused on area-specific, community-oriented, sustainable and evidence-based. The local adaptation plan has to be addressed in the NAP.
“Earlier, we observed that the cyclone centres and embankments set up under different projects were not sustainable and have been damaged in natural disasters like floods and river erosions. So, we should be cautious in spending the adaptation fund in the coming days.”
Emphasising getting an adaptation fund not as loans, Zakir said, “We need $2.5 billion per year for adaptation, according to the government assessment. And most of the money should be from the global climate fund as a grant.
“Rather, multilateral development banks and Green Climate Fund are trying to impose loans in the name of addressing climate change which will create risks for the already vulnerable countries falling into a debt trap.”
Md Shamsuddoha, chief executive of the Centre for Participatory Research and Development, said, “The NAP has to be formulated in such a way so that it reflects in the national five-year development plan. For a comprehensive plan, inter-sectoral coordination and huge consultation with the stakeholders, especially the vulnerable community, are necessary.”
Bangladesh was one of the first two least developed countries to submit its National Adaptation Programme of Action in 2005.
It was updated in 2009, and additional projects were added later. Now, according to the UNFCCC guideline, the country has to formulate the NAP.
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