Climate finance is not charity, but a right of countries vulnerable to climate change that are still waiting for financing from major carbon emitters of the world, say experts and stakeholders.
The year's United Nations climate summit COP27 in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh is heading towards a geopolitical hurricane, they said at an event titled "Towards COP27: Building momentum for solutions to climate change" Wednesday.
"Have you seen how quickly covid-19 pandemic was addressed and how quickly money came for the Ukraine-Russia war? But we are still waiting for climate finance," Waseqa Ayesha Khan MP, chairman, parliamentary standing committee on Ministry of power, Energy and Mineral Resource, said at the event organised by the British High Commission in Dhaka.
"So, money is there. It's not a shortage of money. People in the vulnerable countries don't seem to be important," she added.
"I think there will be a geopolitical hurricane over climate finance in copp-27," she added.
As Egypt prepares to host COP27 early next month, Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry, who's also the conference's president, recently said, "COP27 is to be convened while the international community is facing a financial and debt crisis, an energy-prices crisis, a food crisis, and on top of them the climate crises."
"In light of the current geopolitical situation, it seems that transition will take longer than anticipated," he added.
Shamir Shehab, founder and executive director, Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI), said, "From the multilateral funds, around $650 million has been so far committed to Bangladesh for climate adaptation. And in the last 10 years or so, we have received less than $200 million of that, which is paltry compared to $2 billion people in Bangladesh spend per year to cope with the impacts of natural disasters"
He further said, "There are around 150 social protection programs in Bangladesh. We can perhaps think of channelling climate adaptation funding through these existing social safety programs to build climate resilience of the people who are facing the brunt of the climate impacts, including women, children, and young people in the frontline of the climate crisis."
Even though developed economies promised Climate Financing, little of it has actually reached the vulnerable countries, because of ill-defined development loans and lack of transparency.
Being one of the Ground-Zeroes for Climate change, Bangladesh requires funding on multiple scales.
Referring Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), a keynote presenter from BYEI said that $2.6 Billion is needed for the protection of high value assets against inundation with an annual recurrent costs of $54 million.
"This is just one of those instances where the need for funding is Imperative," the keynote speaker said.
"On the basis of scientific research, we find economic and non-economic losses and damages of climate change. It's not just money, but life. So a lot of work has to be done for us to quantify damage, which we call non-economic losses," said Prof Saleemul Huq, director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development.
"Although we fight for finance, then non-economic loss and damage can be much more important to us than just monetary loss," he added.
Regarding the financing from financial institutions, Md Mahbub ur Rahman, CEO, HSBC Bangladesh said, "We need more enablers and more facilitators for these funds to be channelled through the right ways, through the right recipients, to the right cause. Because, organisations and the corporate agencies cannot go about it individually…," he added.
Focusing on gender-aspects of climate change, Farah Kabir, country director, Action Aid Bangladesh said that Climate finance is not a charity. It's all about rights.
At the event, three papers were presented from the members of BYEI on adaptation, mitigation and funding in relation to climate change.
Robert Chatterson Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh gave the introductory speech at the event, moderated by Mubin S Khan, deputy editor of The Business Standard (TBS), the media partner of the event.