September 3, 2013

Bangladesh: A Unique Parliamentary Action to Implement Sustainable and Renewable Energy Act

In a unique, unprecedented move, Members of Parliament of the National Parliament of Bangladesh submitted a signed memorandum at the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources. They requested its intervention to ensure that the Ministry lays out an effective planning, budget and program for renewable energy development in the country, in consonance with the Bangladesh Renewable Energy Policy 2008 and the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) Act 2012. The Parliamentary Standing Committee met on 22 August 2013, under the chairmanship of M.P. Mr. Mohammad Shubid Ali Bhuiyan. On the request of Climate Parliamentarians, SREDA was listed in the schedule agenda. The Committee discussed various issues and suggestions given in the Memorandum, to be taken forward to the Government.

On behalf of the Bangladesh Climate Parliament Group, cross-party Parliamentarians also gave a detailed set of recommendations to the Parliamentary Committee for strengthening and smooth running of SREDA. The Memorandum was signed by Mr. Tanvir Shakil Joy, M.P. and Convener, Ms Roshan Jahan Shathi and Mr. Anisul Islam Mondol, M.Ps and co-conveners of the Bangladesh Climate Parliament Group. While presenting the Parliamentarians’ suggestions at the Standing Committee meeting, Mr. Tanvir Shakil Joy highlighted the need to consider renewable energy for rural electrification, climate change mitigation, employment and minimal social and environmental costs. While the country has set high standards, by installation of two million Solar Home Systems; for large scale systems, the Government has to plan well an institutional mechanism, dedicated for promoting renewable energy under the progressive renewable energy policy of 2008. Mr. Joy explained in detail about the immediate and long-term tasks that should be taken up by the Government, for the SREDA Act to be successful.

Since the past one year, Climate Parliament and UNDP have been working consistently on the enactment and implementation of SREDA in the country. A meeting was organized on ‘Renewable Energy and Climate Policy in Bangladesh’ at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (Bangladesh Parliament) on 7 November 2012. As recent as 4 July 2013, another meeting was organized at the Parliament on the ‘Implementation of SREDA Act’, along with Climate Parliament MPs, representatives of the Ministry, and experts. This meeting was also attended by Mr. Mohammad Shubid Ali Bhuiyan, Chair of the Standing Committee on the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources. The meeting decided that the Climate Parliament MPs will raise the issue of SREDA in the next meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.

The SREDA Act was passed by the Bangladesh Government in December 2012, to establish the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority as a separate entity in the power sector, for the development of renewable energy across the country. The Authority will serve as the nodal institution for identification, promotion, facilitation and overall coordination of all national renewable energy and energy conservation programs. However, the authority is yet to be established, even after six months of the passage of the Act. It is critical that the government establishes an effective SREDA – adequately empowered, technically equipped, financially strong and operationally efficient – which will play the central role of driving energy efficiency and renewable energy development in Bangladesh.

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