As many as 80 projects under the Bangladesh Delta Plan will cost Bangladesh $37 billion by 2030. The projects are aimed at minimizing the adverse effects of rapid urbanization and climate change in the country.
In the opinion of the Planning Commission, Bangladesh is not in a position to meet this huge amount from its own resources. Therefore, the commission has sought financial assistance from donors.
It is understood that the donors have responded favourably but have also suggested that Bangladesh undertake more effective measures to tackle pollution.
Dr Shamsul Alam, member of General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission, updated the representatives of donor countries and organizations on the issue at the NEC conference room on Wednesday. He briefed the delegates on the work scales, funds, government's capability and measures undertaken to date.
Planning Minister MA Mannan, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said the government has been working to ensure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals and Delta Plan 2100 as steps toward eliminating poverty and reducing the adverse effects of climate change.
It may be recalled that the National Economic Council approved the 'Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100' in 2018, to be implemented in the next 100 years. The plan aims to raise the growth of GDP to 9 percent by 2030.
The government plans to create a Delta Fund that will finance the implementation of the Delta Plan.
The Planning Minister on Wednesday outlined the government's long, short and mid-term plans, including the annual development programme, five-year-plan and perspective plan that will reflect the Delta Plan.
Mannan, labelling the Delta Plan a game-changer, said, "Inequality among several regions of Bangladesh will also come down through the implementation of the long-term plan. Although the government will depend on domestic resources for implementation, foreign loans and grants will also be welcome."
The Planning Minister added that Bangladesh will seek cooperation from its neighbours — India, Bhutan, Myanmar and China — in ensuring the protection of common rivers.
Abul Kalam Azad, chief coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), in his remarks said that the Delta Plan is regarded as the main guideline for the development of the national economy. Other deltaic countries of the globe can learn from Bangladesh through sharing its experiences.
Meanwhile, Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, suggested caution in a prioritizing of projects under the Delta Plan. She said the government can minimize water and river pollution and encroachment further.
Mia Seppo also shed light on an enhanced engagement of non-government organizations with the Delta Plan.
Representatives of the UNDP, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Germany and International Monetary Fund expressed their opinions at the programme. Dr Shamsul Alam told the gathering that the government will update the plan every 5 to 10 years.
A total of Tk21,919 crore has been allocated in the current fiscal year for 248 projects under the plan. The amount is 10.81 percent of the Annual Development Programme and 0.86 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Water Resources Secretary Kabir Bin Anwar said his ministry has already taken up two projects under the plan.
The Delta Plan divides the country into six hotspots on the basis of 33 types of risks due to climate change and unplanned urbanization.
Under the plan, an area of about 135,086 square kilometres, which is more than 91.5 percent of the country's land area, encompasses the risk zones.