Laxmi Capital News
'Climate relevant' budget allocation said to be unrealistic

The governmenthas designated  Rs 393.4 billion in the budget allocation for the currentfiscal year as 'climate-relevant according to the budget  red book. Butthis whopping budget for climate resilient spending is saidto be not realistic. 

The budget allocation in the 'climate relevant'  category, which is aseven-fold increment in five years from Rs 53 billion in FY 2013/14, includesall  money spent for reconstruction since 2015 and also the grants of Rs225 billion disbursed for local levels.   

Putting allthis  in the same  categorization basket  has given a falseimpression that the government is becoming climate resilient. According to theClimate Change Budget Code endorsed by the National Planning Commission in2012,  climate relevant means that 20 to 60 percent of  public spendingfor a given project  comes under the categorization. If such spending isover 60 percent it is 'highly relevant'. 

Experts andformer bureaucrats agree that such haphazard categorization of the budget asclimate resilient is not factual and may create a shallow impression. Gopi NathMainali,  secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management andCooperatives, said it must be realistic. 

Mainali, whowas a coordinator for writing the Climate Change Budget Code in 2012, wassurprised to see in the budget for the current fiscal year a huge allocationfigure categorized  as climate relevant. "This coding should beapplied objectively," added Mainali . 

The ClimateChange Budget Code has categorized 11 types of activity, including sustainablemanagement of natural resources and greenery promotion, land use planning, andclimate resilient infrastructure, as  climate change-related activities,implying  that these are climate-relevant financing. 

UNDP has showcased Nepal's climate-relevent achievements  at several publicevents and Nepal also earned a UN award in 2013. Bangladesh and Rwanda have been learning  from Nepal. 

The budgetcoding initiative was carried out with the assistance of UNDP, and Mainalihimself had  led a five-member team to teach other countries  suchinitiatives. 

Speaking at aprogram on public finance management on Friday, Policy Advisor for FreedomForum Krishna Sapkota said, "This haphazard categorization of publicspending as  climate relevant or climate resilient has swelled and createda huge debate; everyone has been stressing the need to revisit thecategorization." 

Experts give the analogy of defining all earthen road projects  in ruralareas implemented by the Department of Local Infrastructure Development andAgricultural Roads as gender friendly, and point out that this  has nopractical and rational ground. Gender-sensitive budget is another haphazard categorization by the   Nepal government. 

MadhukarUpadhyaya,who was involved in mainstreaming climate finance in the national system withsupport from UNDP, also stressed the need for a rationale approach incategorizing budget allocations as climate resilient .

"Nepal isa pioneer country in moving forward with climate change matters and alsolooking at all  budget allocations with a  climate change lens," claimed Upadhyaya.  

Source : MyRepublica, 25th March 2018


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