June 19, 2024, 3:31 pm

Staff Correspondent

2024-05-15 02:27:02 BdST

Green Climate Fund fails to meet good governance standards, depriving countries like Bangladesh: TIB

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is prioritising international organisations over climate-vulnerable countries in granting funds, contradicting its core principles, according to Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).

This has resulted in developing nations like Bangladesh being deprived of necessary support.

TIB’s findings highlight GCF’s failures in fulfilling its mandate over the last 12 years, including inadequate fund collection from developed countries and the imposition of loans instead of grants on climate-vulnerable nations.

TIB released the research “Accessing Green Climate Fund (GCF) for Vulnerable Countries like Bangladesh: Governance Challenges and Way Forward” during a press conference in Dhaka.

This study, conducted from January 2023 to May 2024, used both qualitative and quantitative methods.

TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman criticized GCF’s stringent conditions, which have nearly barred developing countries from accessing funds.

He emphasized that GCF’s failure to adhere to its principles has led to significant delays in fund transfers and insufficient grant amounts for the intended recipients. Dr. Iftekharuzzaman pointed out the GCF's preferential treatment of international organizations like the UNDP, IDB, ADB, and EBRD, calling it unacceptable and contradictory to the GCF’s mission.

He also highlighted the problematic shift towards loans over grants, burdening countries like Bangladesh with additional financial strain. Furthermore, despite corruption allegations, the UNDP’s accreditation was renewed, undermining GCF’s zero-tolerance policy on corruption.

The research revealed that GCF’s recognition process is overly complex and time-consuming, hindering vulnerable countries like Bangladesh from directly receiving funds. It found a disproportionate focus on mitigation over adaptation, with GCF failing to achieve a balanced 50:50 funding ratio or set a timeline for this goal. Despite the need for USD 215 to 387 billion, GCF provided only USD 5.9 billion for adaptation in developing countries.

The study also noted a worrying trend of increasing loans compared to grants, contrary to the Polluters-pay-Principle that mandates developed countries to provide grant-based climate finance. Currently, 40.6% of GCF’s finance is in loans, while 41.6% is in grants, adding financial pressure on already burdened countries.

In Bangladesh, the selection of the National Designated Authority (NDA) for GCF has been criticized for lack of transparency and clear policies. The accreditation process for government entities has seen significant delays, with four entities yet to receive accreditation after five years of attempts. A Bangladeshi organization had to wait two years for accreditation due to insufficient support from the GCF Secretariat.

The analysis of GCF project financing revealed that Bangladesh has received inadequate funding for its climate needs. Of the USD 12 billion required by mid-2025, only USD 1.18 billion (9.9%) has been approved from various sources, with USD 448.8 million allocated from readiness and GCF funds (3.7%).

Furthermore, GCF has allocated USD 256.4 million (76.9%) for mitigation projects and USD 76.8 million (23.1%) for adaptation projects in Bangladesh, with 75% of these funds as loans and only 25% as grants. Disbursement has been slow, with only 13.3% of funds released for Bangladesh's nine GCF projects, including a three-year delay for the first instalment of one project.

The press conference featured TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Adviser-Executive Management Professor Dr. Sumaiya Khair, Director of Research and Policy Muhammad Badiuzzaman, and Senior Research Fellow Md. Mahfuzul Haque.

The event was led by TIB Director of Outreach and Communication Mohammad Tauhidul Islam, with research presentations by Research Fellow Newazul Moula and Research Associate Md. Shahidul Islam.

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