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Study urges accountability to local communities for climate finance flows

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2016 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor

With climate-change impacts forcing local communities to alter their way of life in order to survive, it is necessary to ensure "transparency, accountability and urgency" in the allocation of the financial resources that are to help them do so.

This is according to a recent study published by the International Institute for Environment and Development, which looked at the level and effectiveness of support from selected sources of adaptation finance in six countries.

Countries included in Tracking Climate Change Adaptation Finance to Local Level: A Study of Six Case Studies were Jamaica, Barbados, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka.

On "transparency, account-ability and urgency" - three of 10 principles identified as key - researchers Adrian Fenton, Helena Wright, Hannah Reid, and Saleemul Huq found country projects wanting.

"Transparency was the most difficult principle to find information on. Project documentation should do more to indicate how stakeholders can access local project/programme information; who is implementing specific activities; whether local people can have representatives at meetings; and finally, whether they can get meeting documentation, such as minutes and a register," said a briefing paper on the research.

"Projects frequently do allow local stakeholders to attend meetings, but their influence remains unknown. Most of the projects lacked participatory budgeting and participatory monitoring and evaluation," it added.

On accountability, researchers said that projects "lacked clear complaint and arbitration procedures for local people, which are especially important if communities have limited control over adaptation and development-planning processes".


As to urgency, they found that many projects were experiencing substantial delays.

To address the challenges, the study team said project proposals should provide detailed budgets for local activities and name the communities to benefit.

They also recommended that knowledge centres be established to "hold information on adaptation projects and bridge the gap between communities and government".

While in their infancy, the researchers indicated, the Office of Climate Change and Development in Papua New Guinea and the Climate Finance Skills Hub in Mauritius are useful examples.

"Such centres can let local stakeholders both access and contribute information that helps track adaptation finance," they said.