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That fund will be administered initially by the World Bank, so that it can provide the financial safeguards that will ensure money is properly used and accounted for. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Morley and Rothwell understands how important those safeguards are for taxpayers' funds. It will, however, be up to the
Government of Bangladesh to decide how the money is spent. I also want to stress that all UK bilateral development assistance to Bangladesh, including the £60 million contribution to the pooled fund for climate change, is made in the form of grants rather than loans.
The UK has pledged £1.5 billion towards fast-start financing agreed at Copenhagen. That funding will kick-start measures aimed at cutting emissions and will help developing countries to adapt to climate change. Clearly, some of that money will be spent in Bangladesh.
Climate change has particular consequences for those living near the sea, and I mentioned some of the potential risks earlier. Although at this stage we cannot be sure of the exact impact, we should be in no doubt that millions of people, especially those living in coastal regions, might be forced to relocate if adaptation measures prove inadequate.
Migration for environmental or climate reasons, as my hon. Friend has mentioned, is nothing new for Bangladesh. The country has suffered regularly from flooding and from cyclones. When such events occur, local people naturally look for better opportunities for themselves and their families. They often decide to move to cities and in doing so they move from the problems in one part of the country to different problems elsewhere-perhaps living in overcrowded slums, putting further pressure on services in Bangladesh. The Government and their development partners are working together to help cities to cope with their growing populations. The UK, for example, is investing £60 million through a United Nations programme to improve infrastructure and services for some 3 million very poor and vulnerable people in 23 towns and cities in Bangladesh.
I had the privilege of visiting Bangladesh last year and I spent some time with people living on the chars-low-lying sand islands in the Jamuna river. I saw how UK aid had been used to raise homestead farms above the level of the 1998 and 2007 floods. I saw what a difference that made to the people living there. What I saw made me realise the sheer scale of the challenge that climate change presents in Bangladesh.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. The half-hour Adjournment debate is essentially a Back-Bench occasion and it is not usual for Front-Bench spokesmen to intervene. I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman is not a Front-Bench spokesman on international development, but the fact that he and the Liberal Democrat Front-Bench spokesman, the hon. Member for North Southwark and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes), are here may be seen as their demonstrating their interest. It is better that the debate is kept as a Back-Bench occasion, otherwise other precedents will be set.
Mr. Foster: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am aware of the hon. Gentleman's interest in the climate change agenda and I would certainly welcome any contribution from him if the Chair were to allow it.
As I was saying, it is unthinkable that those challenges could be ignored. If my hon. Friend the Member for Morley and Rothwell wants to see some of the work
that my Department is doing on the chars before he visits Bangladesh, he could look on DFID's website under the chars livelihoods programme, where he would see some analysis of that project's work. If he were minded to look at YouTube, he could see a video blog that I did while I was on the char islands, which graphically brings home to people in the UK who have not had the privilege of visiting those parts of the world what is happening there. They can see for themselves exactly what we mean when we talk about raising homestead levels and allowing people to deal with climate change and development-all under the roof of one particular project.
I thank my hon. Friend for his contribution to the debate. He said that he and his colleagues from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association will visit Bangladesh shortly. I hope that he has a productive trip and I genuinely look forward to receiving a copy of the report that it is customary to produce after such visits. I am more than willing to discuss any of the issues that arise from his visit on his return.