Clean finance for a clean planet

Filed under - Climate governance

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If corruption seeps into the billions of dollars meant to tackle climate change, we threaten today’s vulnerable and all future generations.

In December 2015, a long-awaited UN summit led to a historic commitment to roll back carbon emissions: the Paris Agreement. Now, the real hard work starts.

Not only was the deal too late to stop the early impact of climate change, the world’s ability to meet the Paris targets depends on a real surge of political will, and those billions of dollars going where they’re needed. Both require one crucial ingredient: transparency. 


Climate finance means many things, but falls under two types:

● ‘Mitigation’ finance: that’s money to stop climate change getting worse overall (for example, renewable energy, clean transport, carbon markets or reforestation projects)

● ‘Adaptation’ finance: that’s money to help countries and communities already suffering (for example, flood defences, irrigation systems or emergency shelters)

The sums are enormous. As part of the negotiations leading to the Paris Agreement, world leaders agreed to mobilise US $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020, and a further US $100 billion each year thereafter.

That’s a lot of money that could save and improve lives. But it could also disappear through graft or negligence.

On its way from donor budgets to projects on the ground, climate finance follows a complex path through many institutions. Each step of the way, we’re asking:

● Are your budgets publicly available?

● Are local communities involved when you make decisions about how money should be spent?

● Can you guarantee that your staff aren’t getting kickbacks from investing in some projects over others?

● Is an independent body monitoring the work you do?

● Is it clear who will be held responsible if fraud or corruption occurs?

And if the answer is no, we want to know why.


● Transparency International Bangladesh

● Transparency International Cameroon

● Ligue Congolaise de Lutte contre la Corruption (LICOCO) (DRC)

● Transparency International Liaison Office to the European Union

● Ghana Integrity Initiative

● Transparency International Kenya

● Transparency International Korea

● Transparency Maldives

● Transparencia Mexicana (Mexico)

● Proética (Peru)

● Rencontre pour la paix et les droits de l’homme (RPDH) (Congo)

● Transparency International Zambia

● Transparency International Zimbabwe


Following the money

TI chapters around the world are monitoring climate finance as it enters and is distributed throughout their countries. For instance, our team in Mexico have developed an online interactive map of climate finance flows in the country.

Where they detect a risk that mismanagement or corruption might occur, they’re calling for reforms.

Addressing complaints

Using TI’s pioneering Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) model, we can register local communities’ complaints and help them get redress. Here’s how it works.

Assessing risks and creating standards

Because ‘climate finance’ is such a young discipline, there’s a lot we can do to safeguard the money and make sure communities on the frontline of climate change have their say in the process.

In Bangladesh, we found cyclone shelters built without walls. Locals did not know what they could do about it. In the Maldives, the lowest-lying nation in the world, millions of dollars have vanished from a tsunami relief fund.

We’re conducting research to assesses gaps and propose workable solutions tailored to specific countries.

Improving the governance of funds

We’re in direct contact with the international climate funds, like the billion-dollar Green Climate Fund, to make sure their decision-making and policies are clean and safe from loopholes.

Protecting forests

Forests are the lungs of our planet - and they’re at risk: from climate change, but also the schemes devised to halt it.

Take REDD+, for example: a UN mechanism that monetises forests with the goal of mitigating climate change through forest management and preservation. While the initiative could bring benefits to forest communities and mitigate carbon emissions, it could also be co-opted by powerful local interests. We’re working to keep REDD+ clean.


To view all our submitted recommendations to climate funds, please click here.


Topic - Climate governance   

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