Gross irregularities and lack of transparency were found in six climate change impacts mitigation projects implemented by Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), says Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in its latest survey report.
The findings of the survey indicated that there have been irregularities in selecting project sites, contractors, project monitoring, peoples’ participation in implementation process and openness of information.
The Berlin-based graft watchdog unveiled the study report titled: ‘Climate Financing and Good Governance in Project Implementation: Bangladesh Water Development Board Perspective’ on Wednesday.
TIB said the climate projects drew less attention from the management aspect because of low budget coupled with irregularities by a nexus of the project stakeholders.
Officials at the local BWDB office inspected all the six projects, but no written inspection reports were found. No project monitoring was done by the inspection teams of water resources ministry or IMED of planning ministry, according to the report.
Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) has not done any evaluation although it visited the projects at the start and at the end, while no audit was done by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
TIB said the projects were implemented in less vulnerable areas ignoring the most vulnerable areas.Besides, lack of information, stakeholders’ indifference to ensure accountability and lack of coordination were eventually reflected in selecting contractors and the quality of work.
Local people were not involved with the project implementation although there are specific law and policy for doing so while implementing water resources projects, TIB said.
The TIB study also found an absence of any proactive system to settle complaints regarding project implementation.
The study also observed that although the e-tendering system is considered the best system in public procurement, its effectiveness in ensuring transparency and integrity is limited as the system only confined to tendering process; not in tender evaluation and selection.
“Although some positive initiatives were seen in the implementation of climate projects by Water Development Board, irregularities, lack of good governance as well as integrity were found there in an overall assessment,” TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman commented.
Although there is a legal binding for information openness, the rules were violated and the projects were not implemented with ensuring quality, he added.
TIB conducted the study to identify challenges of good governance in climate fund utilisation by BWDB in mitigating climate change impacts. The study was conducted from March 2015 to July 2017.