Greens condemn over-reporting of climate adaptation finance by developed nations

Former MEP Molly Scott Cato has called for more transparency of international climate finance, following research that found developed nations exaggerate the climate adaptation finance made available to developing countries.

Flooding in Vietnam
Green World

A recent report from CARE International has found that climate adaptation funds are short by over $20 billion, as rich nations and institutions are routinely over-reporting funding provided to developing countries.

The Paris Agreement requires countries to provide financial resources to protect developing countries from the climate crisis. Official OECD figures show that in 2018, donors committed $16.8 billion towards mitigation and adaptation, which is far behind the $50 billion developed countries initially pledged towards annual adaption finance by 2020.

CARE’s recent report has now calculated that since the Paris Agreement, the amount paid to developing countries for climate breakdown adaptation stands at just $9.7 billion, suggesting that adaptation finance from rich countries has been over-reported by 42%.

The research findings also show large amounts of climate finance has been awarded for projects that bear no relation to adaptation and that donors exaggerate the adaptation component of projects that are awarded funding, thereby over-reporting the amount they actually spend on climate adaptation.

This new research is considered to be the most comprehensive assessment of climate adaptation funds yet, following an assessment of the funding made available to 122 projects delivered across Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nepal, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Results have found that the largest discrepancies come from Japan, which has over-reported its climate adaptation finance by more than $1.3 billion, The World Bank, which has over-reported by $832 million and France by $104 million.

Responding to CARE’s findings, Former MEP Molly Scott Cato cited December’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow as an opportunity to address these issues, while calling for rich nations to stop prioritising private investments over providing financial aid to developing countries in the face of the climate crisis.

“This sleight of hand over measuring investment to repair climate damage is just one sign of a worrying trend to manipulate the agenda for climate finance, which is going to be central to COP negotiations this December,” Cato said.

“We need to stop the shift from government aid towards private investment and prevent the environments of countries of the majority world being auctioned off to the countries with greater financial and political power.”

Following the publication of the report, CARE has called upon donors to stop over-reporting adaptation finance, to prevent the exacerbation of debt distress and to integrate gender equality and poverty reduction in adaptation activities.

The report was published to coincide with January’s Climate Adaptation Summit 2021, held in the Netherlands. 

During the Summit, an Adaptation Finance Mainstreaming Programme was launched by the Global Commission on Adaptation, designed for middle-income and lower-income developing countries to improve their capacity to understand and manage climate risk.