Climate change help should be in aid, not loan, Bangladesh parliamentary panel head says

As an 'innocent victim' of climate change, Bangladesh should receive aid, not loan, to fight the effects of climate change, the head of the parliamentary panel on environment and forest ministry has said.

Published : 27 Oct 2016, 09:22 PM
Updated : 16 Nov 2016, 04:50 PM

Hasan Mahmud, also former environment minister, spoke twice on the matter on Thursday - once at a seminar and later after the panel's meeting.

He emphasised 'preventing commercialisation' of the Green Climate Fund, which was initiated with a promise by the developed countries to raise $100 billion annually by 2020 in order to help the countries vulnerable to climate change fight the effects.

But as the most of the fund has not been cleared, Finance Minister AMA Muhith expressed his frustration over the matter during a ministerial conference at IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC earlier this month.

Following Muhith's criticism of the World Bank for the lack of a climate change fund, its President Jim Yong Kim, during his recent visit to Dhaka, announced $2 billion loan to fight the effects of climate change in Bangladesh.

But many of the environmental organisations have said Bangladesh should not take the loan as it has been demanding aid to fight climate change effects.

The 22nd session of the global climate change summit, Conference of the Parties (COP 22) and the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) will be held at Marrakesh in Morocco from Nov 7 to 18.

The Paris Agreement will enter into force on Nov 4. As a result, the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) will take place in Marrakech in conjunction with COP 22 and CMP 12.

Speaking at a seminar organised by some non-government development organisations and environmental associations in Dhaka on Thursday, Hasan Mahmud said it should be prevented if someone wants to do business with the climate change deal.

"The World Bank president has proposed $2 billion loan help for Bangladesh to tackle climate change effects. We see this as a good proposal," he said.

"But," he added, "This money will have to be given as aid, not loan, because Bangladesh is a victim of climate change without doing anything (to change climate)."

"Loans can be taken for development, but no loan on climate change issue," he observed.

Later after the parliamentary panel meeting, Hasan Mahmud told the media that the issue of 'commercialising' the climate change fund has come forward.

"Global lenders like the World Bank and IMF are getting involved in clearing the money of the fund. Even HSBC Bank will reportedly clear the money," he said.

"We have been saying from the beginning that aid, not loan, will have to be given on this issue. The World Bank has also recently announced to give $2 billion. But it's not logical.

"The fund's money belongs to the people. It should not go to the hand of the investing firm.”

He said the parliamentary panel recommended that the government raise the issue in Morocco.

The panel also recommended emphasising the climate migrant issue at the conference and extending the 'carbon peaking year' for countries like Bangladesh.

"The peaking year for Bangladesh and other developing countries cannot be the same like the developed countries," Hasan said.

Most countries have announced they will reach the peaking of carbon emissions by year 2030 to limit the increase in climate temperature by 2 degree Celsius.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher