The UK-based international development agency Christian Aid has welcomed the announcement yesterday that the UK government is to give Bangladesh £75 million to adapt to climate change, but urges much more to be done.
The NGO warns that far greater funding commitments to the developing world are needed if rich countries like the UK are serious about a fair and effective response to global warming.
Christian Aid is also concerned that the World Bank is to administer funds made available to poorer countries for clean development and tackling the effects of global warming.
It says developing countries must have the greatest say in how such funds are spent. The money must be seen as compensation for the damage being done to poor countries by climate change – a problem largely caused by rich countries.
"The countries that have done the least to cause climate change are the ones that are suffering most from its effects," explained Christian Aid’s climate change policy adviser Eliot Whittington.
Whittington continued: "The money promised by the UK government to Bangladesh is a good start, but far more money must be forth coming from across the developed world on the principle that the polluter should pay. And those funds should be additional to those already committed to tackle global poverty."
To keep temperature rises worldwide below 2°C and avoid widespread climate catastrophe, massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are needed both in industrialised countries, and the developing world.
Christian Aid says that if richer countries are unwilling to help developing countries meet the costs involved, poorer countries will have little incentive to play their part in seeking to develop in a low carbon manner.
Giving the money to the World Bank sends all the wrong signals,’ added Mr Whittington. ‘
"It has a terrible record of imposing damaging economic policies on poor countries and is backing a large portfolio of greenhouse gas emitting projects around the world."
Christian Aid works with a number of partner agencies in Bangladesh helping communities adapt to climate change. Much of the work involves disaster risk reduction – establishing cyclone shelters for people and food stores, and setting up early warning systems.
Other projects include tree planting to prevent soil erosion, helping raise homes and wells above normal flooding levels, and establishing ‘floating allotments’ on beds of water hyacinth for growing vegetables.
Rain water harvesting measures have also been introduced following the contamination of fresh water sources far inland by rising sea levels.