Climate Finance Accountability

Climate Finance Accountability


The climate crisis is arguably the world’s greatest development challenge, as well as one of the most significant public finance challenges governments will face for decades to come. Globally, hundreds of billions of dollars each year will be mobilized to mitigate and adapt to climate breakdown and pave the way for a sustainable and resilient future.

Regardless of source, much of this money will be managed by national and subnational governments through their general budgeting systems, many of which fail to comply with international standards for transparency and accountability. These systems are likely to generate inadequate, poorly designed, or poorly implemented investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation, placing those most affected by climate hazards — poor and marginalized people — at grave risk. Failure to improve these systems will have serious implications for global efforts to nurture equitable, just, and sustainable societies, such as the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

Climate finance accountability is most likely to happen within a strong budget accountability ecosystem in which there is engagement in the use of climate-related financial resources among and between a range of state and non-state actors, including those from civil society, the executive, legislature, and audit institutions. This engagement should happen throughout the budget cycle and can be in both formal and informal spaces. Civil society organizations have a critical role to play because they possess knowledge about community needs and potential solutions that is critical to government decision making, as well as relationships with communities that allow them to monitor budget execution on the ground. However, to play this vital role effectively, CSOs need access to information on how the government is raising and spending funds for climate action, formal opportunities to participate in budget processes, and the capacity to take advantage of both.

Given the magnitude of the crisis and the integral role of public budgets, IBP is working to ensure that climate financing is harnessed to avert disaster and redress its impact on the most vulnerable people and communities. For more information, contact Delaine McCullough, IBP Head of Climate Finance Accountability, at [email protected].

People, Planet and Public Finance Podcast

More and more, governments are mobilizing additional funds to deal with climate change and its impacts. For this investment to make a difference, it is vital that leaders ensure that the use of these funds is efficient, effective, and clear of corruption.

To ensure the funds are used properly, engaging people and civil society in climate finance accountability processes and monitoring is crucial for success. Additionally, fair and equitable public policies are more likely to be produced when civil society organizations joined by active, empowered citizens engage governments and state accountability institutions in budget and policy processes.

Furthermore, the most vulnerable members of society to the impacts of climate breakdown must have a voice, alongside governments and other sectors, in planning how to raise and spend financial resources for climate action.

However, since governments are in early stages of establishing the institutions, systems, and practices that govern climate-related finance management, civil society and public participation has been limited. Insights that emerge through new analysis and research of climate finance accountability reforms and civil society engagement is critically important to meaning progress.

Created by the International Budget Partnership and the International Institute for Environment and Development, the People, Planet and Public Finance podcast series will curate and share that new research and analysis, as well as innovative approaches and promising models for responding to the climate-related fiscal accountability challenge.

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© 2019 International Budget Partnership (IBP) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

JUST RELEASED! EPISODE FOUR: Critical Engagement: Improving Climate Budgeting During Covid-19

As the government of Bangladesh tackles the COVID-19 pandemic the country is hit by Cyclone Amphan, resulting in deaths, massive destruction of homes and millions displaced. As one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the climate crisis, the cyclone makes it starkly clear that delaying action on climate change to deal with the pandemic is not an option. When it comes to climate change, the stakes are extremely high and how the government raises and spends public money to respond to the climate crisis is critically important. But civil society has an essential role to play, too. In the latest episode of the People, Planet and Public Finance podcast, Farah Kabir, the country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, and Dr. Saleemul Huq, the director of the International Center on Climate Change and Development, discuss their work to coordinate civil society in Bangladesh to engage the government on climate-related budget choices, monitor spending on the ground and contribute to stronger oversight.

EPISODE THREE: Getting Money to Where It Matters: Ensuring Funds for Climate Action Reach Those Who Need It Most 

In the third podcast in the joint IIED and International Budget Partnership “People, Planet and Public Finance” series — IIED researcher Emilie Beauchamp and Bara Gueye, former director of IED Afrique in Senegal, discuss a new mechanism for getting public money that is intended for use in addressing climate change to the local level; a mechanism that accounts for the need to reduce financial risk and ensure accountability.

EPISODE TWO: Bearing the Burden of the Climate Crisis

There’s been a lot of talk about the mobilization of finance at both the international and national levels to address the climate crisis, but how much are individuals and families spending to try to mitigate the impact? A new podcast discusses the findings of a study by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED): “Bearing the climate burden: how households in Bangladesh are spending too much.” Authors Paul Steele (IIED) and Shaikh Eskander (Kingston University London) share highlights of the disturbing findings on what poor, rural households in Bangladesh are spending to cope with climate catastrophe, how their security and future prospects are hurt, and what governments and the international community could and should do.

For more, visit the International Institute for Environment and Development
Bearing the climate burden: how households in Bangladesh are spending too much
EPISODE ONE: 1, 2, 3 . . . Averting Environmental Catastrophe

Climate change, biodiversity loss, and degradation of natural systems threaten the economic and social systems that form the core of society. Failing to halt these crises will affect everyone, but especially the poor and marginalized, particularly women. As stewards of a country’s natural resources, governments play a key role, yet few are seriously held accountable. And the ways governments raise and spend public money will have a huge impact on addressing climate breakdown and other environmental decline. Countries can strengthen their environmental stewardship and “green” their budgets and aggressively respond to the impacts on people and communities. Murray Petrie, Lead Technical Advisor for the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency joins host Delaine McCullough to share his ideas on stemming the tide of environmental degradation.

For more detail, read Murray’s blog posts.

From the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency’s Blog:  Averting environmental catastrophe: what would real accountability for environmental stewardship look like? And why it has a lot to do with fiscal policy.

From the International Monetary Fund’s Public Finance Management Blog: Better Stewardship can Avert Environmental Catastrophe and High Time for Green Budgeting

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Climate Finance Accountability Resources

Budgeting for a Greener Planet

This paper assesses the climate finance accountability landscape in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and the Philippines and examines how government, formal oversight institutions, civil society, citizens, and media in each country engage in decision making and monitoring of the use of public funds for climate action. The report establishes a climate finance accountability framework and aims to draw lessons and guide actors — both global and domestic — on entry points to strengthen systems.

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Tracking Climate Change Funding: Learning from Gender-Responsive Budgeting

This paper looks at what budgeting for climate change initiatives can learn from gender-responsive budgeting.

Budget Brief No.11 – Governing Climate Finance: The Importance of Reporting Guidelines and Review Mechanisms to Ensure Transparency and Accountability

This brief looks at climate finance over the past year and how the current level of reporting is inadequate to the task of ensuring that funding commitments are fulfilled and funds are used effectively.   It touches on the important role that civil society and public participation within countries receiving climate funds can play in decision making and oversight and presents recommendations for reporting mechanisms and public participation for the COP-16 and future negotiating sessions to consider.

Budget Brief No. 9 – Accounting for Results: Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in Financing for Climate Change

More than 190 countries are gathering in Copenhagen from December 7-18, 2009, to decide on the next significant steps to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change. To achieve this goal, one of the things that the international community must negotiate is targets for new, significant, predictable, and stable finance to support developing countries’ transition to low-carbon economies. A significant amount of these resources will be raised from public sources in developed countries and invested in developing countries, and will be managed by one or more international institutions.


Making it Count: Accountability in Climate Finance

In June 2019, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and IBP co-hosted a seminar on domestic climate finance management, featuring civil society actors from Uganda and the Philippines to discuss how they are advancing effective, equitable adaptation finance systems to build resilience in a changing climate. This seminar was part of the WRI’s Greening Governance Series.

Learn more: Watch the recording | Read the presentation