Rich nations hugely exaggerating climate adaptation finance

Rich nations and institutions have been routinely over-reporting their climate adaption funding for developing countries, leaving a shortfall of around $20bn (£14.6bn), research by CARE International has found.


After assessing 112 projects, representing 13% of total global adaptation finance between 2013-17, the researchers found over-reporting of $2.6bn, which if applied to the remaining projects, would result in more than $20bn.

CARE International said that large amounts of climate finance for certain projects bear no relation to adaptation, and that donors exaggerate the adaptation component of their projects.

“Not only have rich nations let countries in the Global South down by failing to deliver enough adaptation finance, but they have tried to give the impression that they are providing more than they do,” said John Nordbo, senior advocacy adviser for climate at CARE Denmark.

“It is truly embarrassing. This injustice must be corrected, and a clear plan must be presented to show how they intend to live up to their commitments with real money – and no reporting tricks.” 

The latest findings are published in a new report, which claims that Japan has over-reported its climate adaptation finance by more than $1.3bn.

The World Bank is said to have over-reported by $832m in total, including $328m on an earthquake housing reconstruction project in Nepal, while France was found to have exaggerated by a total of $104m.

Worryingly, 47% of adaptation projects in six countries studied did not mainstream gender equality, despite this being a requirement of adaptation action under the Paris Agreement.

Of further concern is that the largest financial provisions often fail to adequately consider the poorest in society. This is particularly true of infrastructure and market-based projects, which are frequently provided with finance in the form of loans. 

For projects assessed in Ghana and Ethiopia – both at high risk of debt distress – 28% and 50% of total finance contributions respectively were provided as loans.

“Vulnerable people and countries receive only a fraction of the support promised in Paris,” said Sofia Sprechmann, secretary general of CARE International. “The Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 is an opportunity to remedy climate injustice and a chance to commit to adaptation that is gender transformative.”


Image credit: iStock

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