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An alliance of civil society and non government organizations has demanded an autonomous body with democratic ownership of the government and other stakeholders for management of the climate funds of the country, reports BSS.

Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh BD (EquityBD) and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) made the demand at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the city on Tuesday.

They also called for a single national mechanism to manage all local and international climate funds under the guidelines of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP).

The EquityBD made the demand against the backdrop of approval of the first project from the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF), a climate adaptation fund with donors’ contribution, which so far fetched around US$125 million. The trustee board of the fund at its first meeting in May last approved a project of Taka 25 million for constructing 50 new cyclone shelters and repairing about 50 others along with construction of rural roads.

They said Bangladesh remains in the focus of global attention with regards to climate actions for adaptation and resilience, and the country has set an example among the vulnerable countries in drawing its strategy and action plan.

An autonomous board with democratic participation of policy leaders both from the government and opposition party leaders in the climate funds would make Bangladesh a role model across the globe in the democratic management of the climate funds, they said.

Coordinator the Equity BD Mustafa Kamal Akanda read out the written statement while Executive Director Reazul Karim Chowdhury, member secretary of CSRL Ziaul Haque Mukta, among others, spoke on the occasion.

Clarifying the ‘democratic ownership’ in place of the ‘government ownership’ of the climate funds, they said the management body of the funds should be autonomous and must be comprised representatives from civil society, media, climate victims and local government leaders.

The Equity BD, which is talking about democratic governance of the climate funds since 2008, welcomed the government decision for disbursement of the 10 percent of Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) among NGOs through Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF).

We demand involving more institutions like Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (IDCOL) in this purpose which have proven their track record of credibility in the management and utilization of public fund, they said.

Bangladesh government established Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) with its own resources in 2009 and Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) in 2010 with donors support to undertake and implement various projects to cope with climate change impacts.

The government so far allocated Taka 2,100 crore in last three years in the BCCTF and while donor countries committed a fund equivalent to US$125 million for BCCRF to implement the climate projects.