Climate change is no longer a future threat. It’s affecting us right now through record temperatures, extreme weather events and dying ecosystems.
As climate change creates huge ecological and economic damage, more and more money is being given to at-risk countries to help them prevent it and adapt to its effects. By 2020 this funding will reach over US$100 billion annually. But poorly governed climate finance can be diverted into private bank accounts and vanity projects, often leading to damaging effects.
Effects of poor governance
In 2015, senior staff at Kenya’s state geothermal energy company were sent on compulsory leave for allegedly trying to embezzle around US$19 million.
A fishing community in Bangladesh’s Baguna district cannot reach their cyclone shelter, as it was built on the other side of a river that is not crossable during bad weather. The contractor chose to build it next to his own house.
In 2011, 52 Maldivian families were relocated from islands vulnerable to worsening erosion and sea surges. The government had raised funds to house them, but construction never began and the families were left homeless.
In response to injustices like these, Transparency International works to safeguard climate change funding and activities from corruption. We monitor and expose corruption risks, support communities and build their capacity for participation and change.
Following the relocation, our Maldives chapter launched a national campaign to promote community involvement in decision making on climate projects. They made a video about the homeless families and launched a hugely popular social media campaign to lobby the government for proper compensation and housing. Within months, the promise of proper housing was included in the 2018 national budget.
The cyclone shelter scandal underlined the importance of involving Bangladeshis in projects that affect them. Our Bangladesh chapter made a video to lobby decision makers over the need for full community participation in climate adaptation projects. Now, a slow shift is taking place towards involving local people in deciding and monitoring climate fund use. With community participation, future cyclone shelters can be built where they’re most needed.
What is climate adaption?
Climate adaptation attempts to reduce the risks created by climate change so that people and animals, land, property and ecosystems are protected.
We also improve the governance of climate adaptation and prevention projects. When national media uncovered the alleged attempted embezzlement in Kenya, Transparency International Kenya offered to help the energy company’s new management strengthen their financial processes. We are now working together to improve their practices, as well as building good governance in renewable energy funding throughout Kenya.
As the negotiations to put the Paris Agreement into action are happening, we are launching a new framework of standards to strengthen the governance of climate adaptation finance to ensure that funds reach those in need.
Based on the principles of transparency, accountability and participation, the standards can be applied to any climate project around the world. Civil society, business, government and international agencies alike can use the framework to guide improvements and collaboratively plan, deliver and monitor finances.
Our Bangladesh and Maldives chapters already brought these stakeholders together to pilot the standards, which they used to identify areas where their countries need to improve. The inclusiveness and accountability of projects were found to be weak spots in both countries. The standards are being used to monitor improvements.
Find out more about the standards and their pilots in our report, Climate Adaptation Finance Governance Standards.
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