Advancing effective, equitable adaptation finance systems to build resilience in a changing climate
Poor, vulnerable communities around the world are leading the way forward on adaptation, building resilience in the face of increasingly severe climate impacts. Farmers across Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Vietnam are switching to small-scale irrigation systems to cope with unpredictable rainfall, while women in the Sahel are pooling their resources through joint savings and loans programs to prepare their communities for climate change.
Yet these successes aren’t adding up. The ability of proven adaptation interventions to reach the scale needed in vulnerable communities is limited by a lack of access to climate finance at international, national and local scales.
Adapting to intensifying impacts will cost $140 to $300 billion per year by 2030, but supply of public adaptation funds continues to lag far behind demand, totaling just $22 billion in 2016. And less than 10 percent of dedicated climate finance actually reaches the local level. Those in greatest need of assistance – communities hit first and hardest by climate change – still struggle to access funds, receive disproportionately small shares of available finance and have little say in the allocation of such scarce resources.
Many governments are trying to support community efforts to build resilience and transform adaptation commitments into action. Officials are integrating adaptation activities across their budgets to ensure that all public resources, from investments in agricultural development to infrastructure, improve resilience, while also seeking out private sector finance. But scaling effective adaptation actions can only happen if funding can make it from national government accounts to local coffers and if it is responsive to local vulnerabilities and priorities.
Decision-makers at all levels of government need support ensuring that the funds they do have to invest effectively reach those most vulnerable to climate impacts. Yet adaptation finance research primarily focuses on tracking flows from international donors to specific projects within countries – information that, although important, doesn’t help officials deploy funds for maximum impact.
The Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI) helps governments, civil society organizations and citizens better leverage climate funds to build resilience by:
Supporting civil society-led efforts to improve transparency and participate in adaptation finance decision-making. Our research shows that, when civil society organizations can track funding for resilience and have a voice in the allocation of such limited resources, they can help governments improve service delivery, demonstrate fiscal responsibility and address local communities’ concerns. Citizens who monitor adaptation expenditures can also share what’s working and what isn’t with policymakers, helping officials distribute funds more efficiently.
Developing more effective, accountable climate-responsive budgeting processes. Working with civil society organizations and governments, we support countries’ efforts to establish transparent, accountable budgeting systems. These methods and tools not only create the underlying infrastructure to channel money effectively to local communities, but they also help build the enabling environment needed to secure additional public and private adaptation finance.