Toward Mutual Accountability

TMADeveloped countries are required to provide financial assistance for adaptation to harmful effects of climate change to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Leading up to the 2016 negotiations in Paris, I collaborated with researchers in Adaptation Watch and the Climate and Development Lab at Brown to publish a report on how poorly and opaquely developed countries were meeting their commitments.  Read it here: Toward Mutual Accountability: The 2015 Adaptation Finance Transparency Gap Report.

Together with collaborator Javier Gonzales and undergraduate researchers Eliza Drury and Kailani Acosta, I published chapter 5 of the report, focusing on the perspective of countries receiving climate change adaptation funds.  In particular, we examined the national adaptation programmes of action (NAPA) and the funding they received for urgent climate change adaptation through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF).  The LDCF: is a fund established by the UNFCCC at the 7th conference of the parties, in 2001 in Marrakesh, and managed by the Global Environment Facility).

We found the adaptation planning and funding process to be extremely cumbersome, bureaucratic, and opaque. Much like donor countries, recipient countries frequently re-branded mainstream development projects as climate change and failed to flesh out the relationship between their proposed projects and vulnerability to climate change. The relationships between country-defined adaptation priorities and funded projects through the LDCF are often impossible to discern because
of tile changes, project consolidation, and project segmenting. Just try yourself to match projects from the NAPA database to projects funded by the LDCF in the GEF Project Database!

Recipient country government transparency of adaptation financing within its own borders is also very opaque, making it difficult for citizens or donor countries to hold them accountable for results. However, a few recipient countries and multilateral banks have started using aid management platforms to make development activities public through on-line databases and maps. Some examples include Development Gateway projects, the Open Aid Partnership, and the World Bank’s Global Reach database. These aid management platforms need to include variables indicating climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation at the level of individual project activity locations in order to make international adaptation finance more transparent and accountable.