Africa has historically contributed the least to the problem of climate change yet it faces some of its most severe impacts. There is broad consensus about both the urgency and the need to ensure that the supply of climate finance is adequate, predictable and sustainable if it is to meet demand and the needs of developing countries. At the same time, there are increasing calls on recipient countries to ensure that, once received, climate funds will be used effectively and efficiently in order to achieve the imperative for transformation in the developing world.
Since 2002 a plethora of climate funds have been established with more than 20 different dedicated international and bilateral climate funds now in existence. Each of these comes with a separate mandate, objectives, and conditionalities, institutional mechanisms for access, disbursement and monitoring requirements. This is in addition to delivery of climate-relevant development assistance via traditional development finance institutions on the international level and through bilateral donor agencies. While delivery of funds by developed nations has lagged behind commitments, with the exact amount of funds disbursed still subject to verification, making the most of those resources that have been delivered will require increased capacity within recipient countries for coordination, implementation, monitoring and reporting. Putting in place effective country-level governance arrangements to properly manage these resources will be critical.
Weak governance systems in some African countries, characterised by deficits in transparency, accountability, integrity, and coupled with low institutional independence, can and, in some instances already does, lead to corruption and misdirection of public resources away from poverty-reduction, development and climate protection goals. Governance of climate finance on the continent will therefore require that civil society begin to play their role in ensuring that those funds which have reached national coffers are utilised effectively, equitably and directed to the most vulnerable, in local communities. This also includes funds from national green funds that are increasingly being set up across the continent. To do so civil society has to play the critical role of monitoring government spending of climate finance, creating public demand for transparency and accountability, and enhancing its participation in the overall governance of climate finance at a national level. Civil society will need to play an active role in influencing effective national climate finance policy and implementation guidelines, exert their watchdog role and demand mandated oversight bodies to play their role in monitoring the deployment of climate funding from public accounts. This role will become even more critical in the crucial period ahead when new international funding instruments, such as the Green Climate Fund, are expected to come on stream.
It is against this background that the workshop was held to serve as a platform for African civil society actors to share experiences, strategies and tools, as well as build their capacity towards playing a more active role in the governance of climate finance on the continent. The two and a half day workshop specifically sought to:
- Encourage civil society interest and engagement in tracking climate finance effectiveness nationally and across the continent;
- Enhance civil society capacity to participate in national level governance of climate finance;
- Enhance the visibility of main findings from countries where civil society-led initiatives to track climate finance have been initiated;
- Discuss challenges and share experiences, lessons, tools and strategies for tracking climate finance implementation at national level; and
- Build alliances for networking and knowledge exchange on transparency, accountability and anticorruption in climate finance.
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