ICLEI South Asia, in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Resilient Cities Network and Cities Alliance, jointly organised the “Talanoa-Style High-Level Dialogue for Climate Action in Bangladesh” on the 25th of November 2021.
The speakers and participants at the event included representatives from Bangladesh’s Department of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Bangladesh Planning Commission; the Rajshahi and Narayanganj City Corporations; International Centre for Climate Change and Development; and the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, among others. The dialogue focused on initiatives that are required to achieve and push multi-level governance to enable accelerated and effective on-ground action aimed at achieving Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), while also throwing light on the learnings from the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Glasgow in November 2021 and the way forward for next COP summit in Egypt.
Bangladesh is one of the key countries in the Climate Vulnerable Forum, an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet, and a strong advocate of integrated climate actions at the national and local levels. The country submitted its updated ambitious NDCs in August 2021, has set up a Climate Change Trust Fund to implement climate adaptation measures, and is the first country to come out with a low-carbon growth plan titled “Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan” to guide its development path. The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and National Adaptation Plan are expected to be updated soon. Additionally, the Bangladesh Planning Commission is formulating a digital risk platform that is expected to align the Sustainable Development Goals with climate budgeting.
The presentations and discussions at the Talanoa-style dialogue highlighted the opportunities and challenges of implementing climate-resilient projects in Bangladesh, particularly in the context of the pandemic. The expert speakers agreed that multi-level action with local governments needed to be tightly embraced, with urbanisation being a priority issue in upcoming climate dialogues. It was also highlighted that enabling energy transition through green energy implementation was an important step to achieve low carbon growth in Bangladesh.
The speakers emphasised that the channelling of development funds in the current framework needed to be discussed so that local climate programmes with solid foundations could be implemented by financing partners. A system that ensures proper sector mobilisation of funds is the need of the hour. Concessional and blended finance are expected to bring more accountability than funding through grants, making project implementation at the local level a responsible activity in Bangladesh.