Negotiators made major and encouraging promises when they adopted the new Paris Agreement at COP21 last week. Yet the future success of this Agreement relies on tough questions about accountability, participation, transparency and effectiveness—all of which have governance challenges at their core.
Last week, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board met for its last meeting before the upcoming climate talks in Paris. Countries created the GCF to be the main global fund for climate finance, and as such, it could play a vital role in delivering the goals of an agreement in Paris. If the GCF is to be a key player in the future climate regime, it needs to show that it can effectively spend money. Is it up to the task?
This is the first time the Board is faced with approving proposals for specific activities. Are these proposals ambitious enough? Do they contribute to a paradigm shift in developing countries? Or do they fall short?
The Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI) project seeks to improve accountability around adaptation finance.
The amount of adaptation finance has increased in recent years, at least in part as a result of agreements reached at the U.N. climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009. In the past year, Oxfam, WRI, Overseas Development Institute, and civil society networks in Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda and Zambia have been working together to figure out just how much adaptation finance has been flowing to these four countries and where it’s going. It’s a bit like trying to figure out the tangle of plumbing and pipes in an old house. There is money for climate change adaptation coming from different sources, flowing through different channels, and being used for different purposes.
The amount of international climate finance approved to help developing countries address the impacts of climate change increased considerably between 2008 and 2012.
Advancing effective, equitable adaptation finance systems to build resilience in a changing climate
The Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), one of the world’s largest dedicated funding facilities for climate change mitigation/adaptation projects, have now been in operation for five years. It’s a good time to step back and evaluate what lessons we’re learning from these important sources of climate finance.
WRI recently did just that, inviting a group of representatives from countries accessing CIFs funding to speak at our offices. It became clear from the discussions that while some valuable progress has been made, there is still plenty of room for improvement. In particular, lending institutions involved with the CIFs could deploy climate finance more effectively by fostering a stronger sense of country ownership over mitigation/adaptation projects.
The Good News: Climate Investment Funds Are Contributing to Change on the Ground
We’re starting to see some countries make progress on implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation projects with funds from CIFs programs (see text box). Panelists at the WRI event highlighted a few examples:
Production of staple crops, such as maize, is under increasing risk in Africa because of climate change and depleting soil fertility. The potential consequences for food security are dire. Climate change and food security must be tackled together.