DEVELOPING countries like the Philippines are encouraged to have a consolidated approach in tracking climate finances to benefit more people affected by global warming and other catastrophes.
Deputy Executive Director Angelo Kairos de la Cruz of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) made the call in a recent webinar, following over-reporting of funds meant to help countries respond to climate change.
Citing the global climate finance adaptation study report released last month by CARE International with ICSC and other groups in Southeast Asia and Africa, de la Cruz revealed that developed nations and the finance institutions they oversee have overstated climate finance from 2013 to 2017 by $20 billion.
Based on the Climate Finance Adaptation Study Report for the Philippines, on the other hand, he bared that $770 million (P38.5 billion), or 37 percent, can be considered as over-reported from the $2.1 billion (P105 billion) of adaptation finance for the country reported by donors.
Such overstated amount of donations covers the 18 assessed projects, mainly arising in initiatives committed by Japan ($425 million), the World Bank ($156 million), France ($98 million), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ($54 million), and Korea ($32 million).
“[So] we’re not talking measly amounts. We’re talking about billions of dollars, which, at some extent, we can still shape on how we will use them. So we still have some space to improve things. But we have to move fast,” de la Cruz said.
The latter research they conducted together with Accord and CARE in the Philippines, according to him, found out that the lack of an integrated system of managing climate-related portfolio is among the hindrances for accurate and independent analyses of adaptation and climate finances.
Accounting for climate finance, therefore, is a shared responsibility of the source and recipient, he said.
“Doing local tracking work and actually following where the money goes and trying to get a first hand feel of how it was actually used on the ground, and how it impacted people, that would require more coordination and, at some extent, a lot of resources as well,” de la Cruz explained.
Collaboration-wise, ICSC has always been clear in its position that whatever tracking report it produces could be part of the future initiatives of the government, particularly with the Climate Change Commission through the Climate Finance Systems and Services.
“We want to share our findings with the rest of the country, if not the rest of the developing countries,” he disclosed. “Within the year, ICSC would be able to bring out a toolkit to update our local tracking toolkit, which could be shared and could be followed by others who are looking into doing this kind of work.”
Since the Philippines is among the most vulnerable nations to climate change, he emphasized the importance of having a solid national plan on climate action, building back better and transition to a low-carbon economy.
“I think the financing will start flowing naturally toward those if we have a plan. If we basically have access to a lot of funds, but then we don’t have a plan on how to use it,” he noted.
“So we have, for example, agencies sitting on grant financing until it has to be given back to the source because they don’t have a plan on how to utilize it. So it’s a missed opportunity. I feel like ordinary Filipinos are missing out a lot instead of benefitting from this available resources,” de la Cruz explained.
“We are happy the Department of Finance is working on the country’s climate finance roadmap while working with the Climate Change Commission to deliver an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement,” he said.
The CCC has also set up its Climate Finance Systems and Services, while the legislature, particularly the House climate committee, is exercising its oversight function and fills a massive gap in the accountability loop, he added.