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What does the climate crisis have to do with corruption?

The climate crisis is arguably the biggest global challenge we have ever faced. The cost of responding to it, adapting to and mitigating the worst effects of global heating will be immense. These huge financial investments create tempting opportunities for corruption.

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International funding for environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation is set to reach over US$100 billion per year by 2020. Much more will be spent through domestic budgets. Most of these investments flow through new, uncoordinated and unmonitored channels, with grey areas and loopholes in regulations. This risks exploitation from corrupt interests.

Earth Day 2017

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To ensure that this money reaches the most vulnerable people who need it most, we must press governments to:

  • Build checks and balances into climate policy
  • Ensure flows of money are transparent
  • Monitor and be accountable about where they go

We need open, inclusive climate governance.

How Does Climate Finance Affect You?

The climate crisis affects all of us and corruption weakens our ability to respond to its impacts. If we are going to do something about it, we must start with ensuring that our city, state, and national governments meet their climate goals. International coordination is also key when it comes to this truly global issue.

Almost all governments have pledged climate finance and to take climate action. But is their ambition sufficient and how are decisions being made? Whose interests are represented and are your representatives acting with the highest degree of integrity?

What needs to be done to promote integrity in climate finance?

The rates of corruption in climate vulnerable countries receiving climate finance is a serious cause for concern. The climate funding landscape is complex and fragmentary, complicating efforts to track financial flows (there is still no universally agreed upon definition of climate finance), and to ascertain who should be held accountable for decisions and their results.

What We’re Doing About It

Climate finance means many things, but falls into two categories:

Mitigation finance:

money to stop climate change worsening, including for renewable energy, clean transport, carbon markets or reforestation projects

Adaptation finance:

money to help countries and communities already suffering, such as for flood defense, irrigation systems or emergency shelters

We need to act together and put good governance at the centre of climate finance and action.

We are committed to preventing corruption and shining a light on existing corruption risks and are pushing for changes:

  • Budgets, financial flows, and other relevant data must be publicly available.
  • Local communities have to be involved in decisions about how money is spent.
  • Safeguards are needed to prevent public officials and private operators getting kickbacks from climate projects.
  • Accountability systems to ensure independent monitoring of climate action.
  • Safe and accessible complaint mechanisms must be available and promoted.
  • Whistleblowers must be protected and the corrupt to be sanctioned.

Protecting Africa’s wildlife from corruption

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When they deliberate over amendments to the global wildlife trade regime, CoP18 must address impunity for illegal timber trafficking in Africa as a matter of high priority.

Ensuring that climate funds reach those in need

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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. But poorly…

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