TIB urges the government to ensure transparency, equity, accountability and integrity in climate finance projects
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) called upon the government to ensure transparency and accountability, maintain equity in resource allocation and enhance capacity of the local government institutions (LGIs) implementing climate finance projects in Bangladesh. The call was made during a press conference held on 23 January 2017 in TIB’s Dhanmondi office on the occasion of releasing the findings of a research study titled ‘Climate Finance and Local Government Institutions: Governance in Project Implementation’.
At the event, Advocate Sultana Kamal, Chairperson of TIB Board of Trustees said, “The concerned authority should be sincere about the BCCT Fund as it is formed with the public money and it should be used in a legal way instead of used for political gains.” She also opined, there is no alternative to increase the fund management skill of BCCT.
Citing the study findings, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of TIB urged the government to increase allocation of the BCCTF. He also called on the government to reform the Board of Trustees of BCCTF with the people having climate change expertise who will work above personaland political interest. Dr. Zaman called upon the concerned authority to implement the climate finance projects with integrity and accountability.
Abu Said Md. Juel Miah, Senior Programme Manager, and NahidSharmin, Deputy Programme Manager of TIB’s research and policy division jointly presented the findings. Among others, TIB Deputy Executive Director Professor Dr. SumaiyaKhair and Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan, Director, Research and Policy division were also present at the press conference.
The qualitative research study found weaknesses in the project design phase.Projects were designed without assessing the adverse impact of climate change, without proper participation of people, issues addressed by were incoherent with climate change induced disasters, overlapping with other development projects, personal or political influence in the project approval process, BCCTF as additional funding source in the face of LGD fund limitation, BCCT Fund was used for regular infrastructural development and developing project proposal without any feasibility study. The study was carried out in between March and November, 2016.
The other weaknesses discovered by the study also included non-disclosure of project information in many cases, lack of transparency in vendor selection process, nepotism and abuse of power in vendor selection process, selection of less vulnerable areas for implementation, irregularities during direct beneficiary selection, use of political consideration to change implementation authority, tricks in contractor selection to evade tax and VAT and unnecessary cost over the beneficiaries in building disaster resilient houses.
The research also found some positive aspects in the projects: One project located in cyclone prone area and prone to salinity intrusion built disaster resistant houses for the vulnerable households. Another project located in low disaster prone area took initiative on waste management.Two projects maintained transparency measures to disclose project related information in the project locations. They provided open board with related information where the activities were being implemented.Four projects among the six selected projects maintained consistency during the implementation of plans chalked out in the project proposals.
Considering the climate hotspot, geographical location, six themes of Bangladesh climate change strategy and action plan (BCCSAP), types of LGIs, implementation period and the budget, six projects were chosen for the research. Four projects were selected among 91 projects being implemented by municipalities, one fromn14 projects of zila parishad and one from three projects being implemented by city corporation. The objective of the research was to identify the governance challenges in the LGIs implemented climate finance projects.
In the study, several recommendations were put forward for consideration of the government. Those included reformulation of the BCCT Trustee Board, raising the BCCT Funds, approval of projects after verification of local climate vulnerabilities, strengthening the capacity of the LGIs, revision of the role and strengthening the capacity of the BCCT, amendment of relevant laws, policy and guidelines, enhancing information disclosure mechanism, enhancing coordination for strengthening accountability mechanism and monitoring system.