This working paper explores local finance structures in Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda and Zambia.

It highlights challenges and good practices in channeling funding to communities that are vulnerable to climate change.

Key Findings

The working paper contains country specific recommendations for enhancing accountability for adaptation funds. Overall, national governments and adaptation finance providers can enhance accountability while using funds more effectively by:

  • Enhancing coordination on adaptation projects within a particular district to raise awareness and share data. Streamlining reporting mechanisms across organizations and administrative bodies also makes it easier for local governments and NGOs to access information on successful adaptation activities.

  • Providing guidance on which projects can be labelled adaptation. Tagging criteria should be clear and directed at the most specific level, preferably based on actual expenditure. Donors and implementers must do this for all programs to demonstrate how climate change data have been included and provide a rationale for focusing (or not) on vulnerable geographic areas and communities.

  • Building capacity at the local level to help governments and other local stakeholders conduct vulnerability assessments, design projects with community participation, and transparently report spending.

Executive Summary

The Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI) project seeks to improve accountability around adaptation finance. It does so by promoting the development and use of tracking tools, to collect evidence of where adaptation funds are going and the ease with which stakeholders can access information on adaptation projects. Both are important aspects of accountability. The aim is to help civil society organisations (CSOs) hold donors and governments to account on adaptation money being spent.

This working paper finds that local projects labelled adaptation and funded by donors and national governments, do not always directly address climate change risks. This presents difficulties for tracking adaptation finance. There are also challenges in accessing information from some donors and national government agencies on how adaptation funds are actually dispersed.

Decisions about adaptation project activities are often taken without a clear understanding of the priorities manifested at different scales. As a result initiatives tend either to satisfy community needs, or national level priorities, but the two priorities rarely relate to each other. National strategies for climate finance need to be informed by the priorities of subnational institutions and local communities.

At sub-national level, stronger links to national organizations and international donors are needed to raise awareness and share project data. Streamlining of reporting mechanisms across administrative units would also make it easier for local governments and CSOs to access information on adaptation activities.

This paper contains preliminary research findings, analysis, and recommendations. It is being circulated to stimulate timely discussion and critical feedback and to influence ongoing debate on emerging issues. The content may be revised. Research is ongoing and will continue beyond the end of the AFAI project, as the tracking tools are shared with other CSOs keen to get involved in this work.