DOHA (AlertNet) - A new initiative to track funding for climate change adaptation aims to work out whether the money is meeting the needs of vulnerable people in climate-hit communities, aid and research groups say.
Launched on the sidelines of U.N. climate talks in Doha by Oxfam, the London-based Overseas Development Institute and the Washington-based World Resources Institute, the programme will monitor how climate aid flows from the international level down to local communities, as part of an effort to improve its transparency and accountability.
"It is crucial that the people who are benefiting from climate finance have a say in how the money is spent, so that it can best serve their efforts to adapt to climate change," said the World Resource Institute’s (WRI) Heather McGray.
The initiative will work with local civil society groups for an initial two-year period in Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda and Zambia, and share lessons through alliances across Africa and Asia, the groups said.
Zambia and the Philippines are both setting up trust funds for climate finance, which should help channel funds to local projects, and Nepal has a government directive that 80 percent of climate funds should go to communities, according to Oxfam America's David Waskow .
“We believe this initiative can enable developing countries to establish efficient and effective systems that deliver funds to the most vulnerable. Accountability and transparency are key ingredients in ensuring sustainable finance," Anthony Wolimbwa of Climate Action Network Uganda said in a statement.
The groups will also scrutinise global climate finance institutions like the fledgling Green Climate Fund, other international funding bodies and national governments.
Questions have been raised over how much of the climate aid provided in the last three years - which donors say amounts to nearly $34 billion - is reaching the poorest, hardest-hit people in developing countries.
LIMITED FUNDS TO ADAPTATION
In addition, research groups have said that only around a quarter of current funding is going to adaptation activities, which include adopting new farming methods and crops, protecting homes from floods and rising seas, and harvesting rainwater to cope with drought.
The African Climate Policy Centre, part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, released figures on Tuesday showing that just 9 to 11 percent of public climate finance provided as grants or concessional loans meets the commitment in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord that it should be "new and additional" to existing development aid. The number is higher if loans and private finance are included.
"The insufficient transparency and slow disbursement of the financial resources pledged by developed country parties as 'fast start' finance for the period 2010-2012 is worrying for Africa," Emmanuel Dlamini, chair of the Africa Group of climate change negotiators, said in a statement.
Terezya Huvisa, minister of state in the Tanzanian vice-president’s office, told an event on Wednesday that African women are not getting enough access to aid to boost their resilience to climate change.
"How to access those funds? We find that those funds are directed to men rather than women," she said, adding that more money is needed to help women manage forests better and adapt to climate shifts.
Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation, which is funding the initiative, said making climate spending effective is crucial.
“As extreme weather continues to become the global norm, it has become more critical than ever to have effective programmes that help the most vulnerable people withstand the harmful impacts of climate change,” she said.