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Photo: The panelists in the climate finance event.

Credit: Victor Quintanilla.

COP 20: And what about the effective use of climate finance?

The amount of money required to confront the effects of extreme climate changes is much larger than currently sought in global negotiations. Clearly more resources are needed, but it is also important to track the effective use of climate finance now being mobipzed.

"We must recognize the funding gap for adaptation programming," said Annaka Peterson Carvalho of Oxfam America. She was a panel member Wednesday at a COP20 event entitled, A fair and accountable cpmate finance regime: Confronting the contentious issues.

In her opinion, we must determine, on the basis of science, the real costs that countries must rightfully bear, and we need a responsible finance system to determine how much money each country needs and where it will come from.

Sandra Guzmán, General Coordinator of the Cpmate Finance Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GFLAC), agreed that while it is necessary to have more resources for the fight, it’s also necessary to use them effectively.

"It’s not just about asking for more money," she said. "We must change priorities at a national level to distribute funding by reassigning it to activities that allow for reduced emissions."

Guzmán explained that the Climate Finance Group has developed a methodology to know how much money each country receives, and how much they spend in deapng with climate change. Their analysis encompasses many activities, including some that are not traditionally labeled as relating to cpmate change. She identified five challenges in the task of tracking the use of cpmate finance:

Transparency and access to information;

Definition of the criteria of climate finance;

Institutional structure and communication between different institutions;

Public participation in the evaluation of projects; and

Better methodology for monitoring, reporting, and verification to analyze the effective use of the money.

The experience of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) in the Philippines demonstrates that accountability on climate finance is “everybody’s business,” according its Executive Director, Red Constantino. The Institute tracks not only committed funding for adaptation, but also how it is channeled locally.

The work that Constantino has done has enabled him to identify difficulties in apgning funding with the real needs and priorities of vulnerable communities; provide limited opportunities to involve communities in decision-making about adaptation; and understand that while money flows, it is not necessarily used efficiently or completely.

Andrea Rodríguez, senior lawyer at AIDA, also referred to the importance of ensuring that climate change programs and projects meet the requirements of individual countries and are directed by them. To be effective, she said, the new climate regime must find ways for countries to monitor climate finance, learn from the experiences of other institutions, and reallocate their resources to be effective.

"Climate finance responds to a specific need, it is not general assistance for development," Rodríguez added. "Public participation is central to the process, and if we know how much money we need and how to use it, we will know how much to ask for in global negotiations.

In this sense, Constantino highlighted coordination between local and national levels, between governments and civil society.

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