Friday, August 9, 2013

African states need grassroots help to spend climate funds well

Madalitso Mwando at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: Africa faces significant governance challenges in managing funds for climate change projects, from conflicts of interest and creative accounting to pure embezzlement and misappropriation of money, according to the Kenyan branch of Transparency International. 

Jacob Orina of the watchdog’s Nairobi office said governments could improve their vigilance by enlisting the help of citizens in monitoring how the money is spent. “Climate finance governance can be aided by minimising opportunities for corruption and coming up with policy instruments that promote civil society participation and oversight of development,” Orina told a recent climate change workshop in Kenya. “Setting up broader coalitions (with civil society) for integrity will also work towards accountability in finance flows and decisions on what the funds are to be spent on,” he said.

A 2011 Transparency International report noted that Congo Basin countries - which possess Africa’s richest forests - scored poorly on its corruption perceptions index. Millions of dollars of climate change funds are going to activities to protect forests, as well as efforts to turn ecosystem services into carbon revenue streams, raising fresh worries over governance in a sector that is already prone to graft.

Developed nations contributed more than $30 billion between 2010 and 2012 in “fast start finance” to help poorer countries cope with climate stresses and grow in a greener way. The aim is to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020, under a collective promise made at U.N. climate talks in 2009....

Oxfam aid bound for Mogadishu, shot by Alun McDonald/Oxfam East Africa, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr,  under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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