Transparency International and Greenpeace leaders talk climate change and accountability

Transparency International and Greenpeace leaders talk climate change and accountability

Climate change requires that we plan carefully but act now. As climate negotiators meet in Qatar this week, Transparency International and Greenpeace have a common ask – that they combine expediency with the forethought needed for effective results.

Our combined years of experience on governance and environment offer answers to that challenge.

Transparency International's director Cobus de Swardt recently met with his counterpart at Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo, to discuss how we can best work together to ensure that climate money achieves impact at scale. Watch their conversation below.

Shared history, common vision

Cobus and Kumi have a shared history. They met as young activists fighting apartheid in their home country of South Africa.

Growing up in Cape Town, Cobus learned that social activism is born of a conviction that the future you want is inevitable. He was told, “One day South Africa will be free. Maybe it takes 20 years, maybe 100 years, but it is inevitable it will happen.”

We don’t have 20 years to deliberate how to steer our planet onto a low-carbon, corrupt-free path. At best we have just a few. 

Avoiding the devastation that climate change threatens calls for policy-making that represents people’s needs, spending that is accountable, and watchdogs to keep both in check – from international board rooms to projects on the ground. In short, we need commitments on accountability now.

“Get directly involved now,” was Kumi’s advice. Because the rules of the climate regime are still being written, and serious sums of money could begin flowing soon. Transparency International, he argued, is well placed to monitor the impact this money has.

“And I still hold the hope that in 20 years’ time,” Kumi tells Cobus, “that we’ll say that we tried our best – that we didn’t get 100 per cent of what we wanted, but we were able to stabilise the climate, move to an energy and economic system that was more equitable, and that in fact we put the world on a sustainable path.”

Learn more about our engagement at the UN’s 18th climate conference here.

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