But the picture changes on closer inspection. Just 20% of the 2018-19 climate change budget was allocated to ‘highly relevant’ activities. According to the National Planning Commission, these are programs where at least 60% of the budget is related to climate change.
Disturbingly, while climate-focused spending has been growing as a proportion of the overall federal budget, the chunk of it considered ‘highly relevant’ has been shrinking. It was 48% in 2013-14, 31% in 2016-17 and 20% in 2018-19. In addition, the proportion of the budget that is actually spent has been falling, from 80% in 2013-14 to 57% in 2016-17 and 43% in 2017-18, the last year shown in the report’s graph.
This looks like bad news for what the report calls ‘one of the world’s most vulnerable countries’. Noting that the central government did not publish climate-specific climate date for the last fiscal year, it urges citizens, civil society and people’s representatives to monitor how the government spends its climate budget.
Governments need to pay particular attention to women and other vulnerable groups, adds the report. They are ‘more likely to be harmed by climate hazards (flooding, storms, drought and so on) because they live in poorly constructed homes in high-risk areas; often rely heavily on natural resources for food, fuel, and income; and have limited economic options’.