Bangladesh is among the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. 160 million people live on a surface which is one third the size of Sweden and the floods, tropical cyclones, storm surges and the droughts that affect the country are expected to become worse and more frequent in the future. In order to strengthen the country’s capacity and resilience, the Government of Bangladesh has developed a ten-year Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
Together with three other donor countries, Sweden and the
Government of Bangladesh have created a common trust fund which is called the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF). The fund currently consists of USD 125 million, and will be used to finance the implementation of the national strategy and action plan, within the following six pillars: (1) food security, social security and health, (2) disaster management, (3) infrastructure, (4) research and knowledge management, (5) reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a conversion to low-carbon development, (6) capacity development.
The uniqueness of the fund is that it is based on a coordinated donor effort which is aimed at maximising the outcome of the efforts that are required; something that is not often the case for development cooperation with Bangladesh in the area of environment and climate change.
The Government of Bangladesh manages the fund, where a special climate change unit of the Ministry of the Environment will deal with project applications from other departments and authorities throughout the country. The World Bank is currently the trustee of the fund, but the intention is that the Government of Bangladesh, in due course, will take over that responsibility through strenghtened capacity in the Ministry. In addition to the projects that will be implemented by line Ministries and other governmental institutions, 10 per cent of the fund will be able to support project proposals from the civil society.
After an initial phase of establishing the structure and management of the climate change fund, applications have begun to be received in 2011. The need for assistance is vast, and so far, USD 93 million of the fund’s total USD 125 million has been allocated to the project applications that have been received, together with financial resources reserved for the civil society and some support for capacity development and administration.
Some of the projects under approval include cyclone protection in cyclone-sensitive areas, agricultural adaptation and an afforestation project in coastal and hilly areas to create natural protection against cyclones and erosion, but also to improve livelihood for people.
Bangladesh’s Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan is a comprehensive document and one of the challenges for the country’s climate change efforts is is to strengthen the implementation capacity of the government institutions. Providing the World Bank with the role of trustee is not only a way of managing the risks of corruption, but is also good from a capacity development perspective. This is according to Johan Willert, programme director at the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka:
“The World Bank has immense knowledge in the climate change area, which is useful in the evaluation and further development of the project proposals received from the various line ministries, to ensure they are in line with the climate change strategy. At the same time, they contribute to strengthening the knowledge and capacity on climate change issues in the civil service of Bangladesh.”
Facts: the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund
The Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) is a multi donor trust fund established by Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the EU in 2010, together with the Government of Bangladeshd the World Bank. Later, Switzerland agreed to provide funding. To date, donors have contributed USD 125 million to the fund.
The aim is to contribute to the implementation of Bangladesh’s Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. The Climate Change Resilience Fund is managed by the World Bank and is a complement to Bangladesh’s own national fund for climate change adaptation.
Sweden is contributing with a total of SEK 90 million to the fund throughout the period 2010-2015.