Situated on the delta of the two largest rivers of the Indian sub-continent, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to extreme climatic events such as floods, cyclones and droughts. Climate change is expected to lead to a rise in sea level and surface temperatures, which could increase the frequency and intensity of cyclones and floods, as well as of other climate-related events.
In 2008, the country launched the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan; the strategy prioritized six thematic areas for climate change adaptation, many of which call for action by local government institutions.
Local governments in Bangladesh have been mandated to perform several key functions related to disaster preparedness and management. In the process, they have become important stakeholders in the climate change area. Local governments at the upazila (sub-district) and union (grassroots) levels receive fiscal transfers which are used to strengthen local infrastructure and deliver services. LoCAL works with these local governments to mainstream climate change resilience into their planning and investment systems.
Objectives, results and activities
The overall objective of LoCAL-Bangladesh is to demonstrate the comparative advantage of local governments in managing climate change finance for improving climate change resilience at the local community level. The specific objectives of the programme are to ensure that local governments can perform the following:
- Respond to the increasing impact of climate change in Bangladesh in accordance with locally prioritized needs and vulnerabilities, with sufficient consideration for the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure they support.
- Promote robust, transparent and accountable local public expenditure management systems by providing funds to further consolidate meaningful, efficient, effective and participatory local planning and budgeting processes as well as strengthen incentives for climate change resilience.
- Support strengthening of the overall fiscal transfer system in Bangladesh and the establishment of a strategic platform for the government to attract further financial support for local-level infrastructure and services in a sustainable, performance-based and climate change–resilient manner.
- Incorporation of climate change in local government planning guidelines
- Formulation and compilation of development plans for the Godagari and Mohanpur Upazilas, focusing on climate change resilience which has been approved with the engagement of standing committees and line departments
- Assessment of a performance and financial audit, which has provided a measure of quality of governance in two upazilas and fiduciary risks prior to fiscal transfer
- Identification of adaptation measures and investments from approved plans, which include promotion of climate change–resilient seeds for agriculture, submersible pump for agricultural irrigation, measures to increase soil fertility in vulnerable lands, and raising indigenous species of fish
- Successful transfer of funds from UNCDF to the treasury of the central bank and to the local government division
Adaptation measures and investments
Adaptation measures and investments are expected end 2015/early 2016, following the first cycle of planning and budgeting for the LoCAL PBCRG.
Initial engagements revealed strong demand and willingness on the part of local governments to improve resilience to climate change. Communities see the LoCAL-Bangladesh intervention as a very significant area of local government support.
Planned actions for 2015 include the following:
- Allocate and transfer performance-based climate resilience