Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Climate Change Adaptation and the role of World Bank

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Index-picDhaka 11 October 2008: Equity &Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) today organized a round table discussion on “Multi Donor Trust Fund for Climate Change, Adaptation and the role of World Bank ” at the National Press Club Md Shamsuddoha ,General Secretary of body presented the keynote paper in the event while Dr Tofail Ahmed moderated the discussion on the floor. Among others, former finance Minister Abul Mal Al Muhit, Former lawmaker engineer Md Shahiduzzaman and Ziaul Haque Mukta of Oxfam took part in the discussion and expressed thier views on the much debated management mechanism of the MDTF.

Md Shamsuddoha in his key note held the view that the formation of such a special fund for Bangladesh to support various action plans for adaptation to face adverse impacts of climate change under World Bank supervision will defeat the vary purpose. It will push the country to sideline of the movement for the reduction of carbon emission and knock out it from securing compensation to come from the developed countries as being the major polluters. He said all climate funding should be executed through the existing government channels. He made the point that there should not be any separate body like the World Bank to channel the fund and overseeing its management. He called upon the government not to take any fund on climate financing from the WB sincw sucg funding would eventually accompany tough conditions and regulations. The fund should be given as compensation, not as interest bearing credit, he said The principle to govern the fund should only be that ‘polluter pay and exploiter pay principle’, which means that the developed countries which are responsible for climate change related problems should pay the compensations to sufferers like Bangladesh, he said

Former finance minister Abul Mal Al Muhit said the risks of climate change can not be faced only by undertaking few projects. Reedial measures should be incorporated in all development plans and projects. “The representation of the people who are vulnerable to climate change should be included in fund management and developing the climate change strategy paper,” he said. He further said that the stance of any government in this respect should be published to the people in a White Paper before joining any inter-governmental or international conference in this regard.

Rejecting the ‘Climate Change Strategy and Action plan for Bangladesh’ prepared by the government, Ziaul Haque said it is by and large a collection of as many proposals. It cannot be treated as an effective strategy to face climatic change in Bangladesh as it lacks consultative views of campaign groups and experts opinion. Tthe Bangladesh Climate Conference in London reached a consensus, he said that the polluter countries would reduce emission by 50 percent of their total carbon emission by 2050, although it is considered insignificant by scientists. He urged the government not to lent support to this target in the next UN convention on climate change.

Local government specialist Prof Dr Tofail Ahmed said climate change issue is now a matter of national existence. So, its importance should be underscored seriously.

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