Local people do not get the scope to participate in the formulation of climate change projects as most such projects have been taken based on political consideration, says a new study of the Transparency International Bangladesh.
The anti-graft agency conducted the study on six climate projects during March to November last year, and found the absence of public participation in project formulation of these climate projects.
The findings of the survey, tilted ‘Climate Finance and Local Government Institutions: Governance in Project Implementation’, was unveiled at a press conference at the TIB head office in the capital on Monday.
TIB senior programme manager ASM Juel Miah and deputy programme manager Nahid Sharmin jointly unveiled the survey findings.
TIB trustee board chairperson Sultana Kamal, its executive director Iftekharuzzaman, deputy executive director Sumaiya Khair and director (research and policy) Mohammad Rafique Hassan were present at the press conference.
The research reveals that mayors, deputy commissioners and chief executive officers of zila parishads, engineers and municipality secretaries play the vital role in preparing project proposals while councillors did not get the scope to get involved in this process.
Although these projects were taken to cope with climate change impacts, it shows, climate change risk and impacts were not assessed at community level before taking six climate projects.
The six projects were chosen for the research considering the climate hotspot, geographical location, six themes of Bangladesh climate change strategy and action plan (BCCSAP), types of the local government institutions (LGIs), implementation period and the budget.
The objective of the study was to identify the governance challenges in the LGIs implemented climate finance projects.
The study found 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 TIB urged the government to ensure transparency and accountability, maintain equity in resource allocation and enhance capacity of LGIs in implementing climate projects.
Sultana Kamal said the authorities concerned should be sincere about Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) as it was formed with public money and should be used in a legal way instead of political gains.
She said there is no alternative to improving the fund management skill.
Iftekharuzzaman urged the government to increase BCCTF allocation and reform its Board of Trustees with people having climate change expertise and who will work rising above personal and political interest.
He stressed the need for implementing the climate finance projects with integrity and accountability.
The TIB put forward a number of recommendations which include reformulation of the BCCTF Trustee Board, raising climate funds, approval of projects after verification of local climate vulnerabilities, strengthening the capacity of the LGIs, enhancing information disclosure mechanism, and enhancing coordination for strengthening accountability mechanism and monitoring system.