Owning Adaptation: Country-level Governance of Climate Adaptation Finance
Vulnerable communities across the world are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. These communities are urgently in need of assistance aimed at building resilience and at undertaking climate change adaptation efforts as a matter of survival and in order to maintain livelihoods. However, even as financing for climate change adaptation begins to flow to developing countries, it is not yet clear if the funding will respond to those immediate and pressing needs; and whether these funds can succeed in reaching the most vulnerable remains a critical unanswered question.
This represents a new and different challenge from past development issues; climate change adaptation finance should not be considered aid in the traditional sense. However, many lessons learned regarding development and aid effectiveness are relevant. In order for adaptation funding to be effective and reach those who need it most, developing countries themselves need to own and be invested in the process, with a focus on developing country-led adaptation strategies. Country ownership in the context of climate change adaptation finance entails a strong role for governments in developing countries. However, governments also have an obligation to create the necessary national governance structures and ensure accountability to civil society and to its citizens, especially the most vulnerable. Climate change adaptation finance is still at a formative stage and can be shaped such that developing countries and, above all, vulnerable communities, can guide the ways in which it is used. This represents a significant window of opportunity.
There are currently a number of channels of adaptation finance for which this is critical, while the new global Green Climate Fund, in particular, has the potential to build a new approach for managing climate finance at the global and national levels. This is not a simple or easy task. Oxfam has looked at the ways in which adaptation finance has begun to be implemented in a number of countries. It is clear that both international providers of finance and national governments will need to undertake significant course corrections.