Effective Resourcing to Address Climate Change-Experiences from Himalaya

Posted on December 14, 2010


In the recent Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform (http://bit.ly/9rCs7C ) 21-22 October 2010 in Bangkok, a civil society representative from Bangladesh highlighted that, “the NGOs in Bangladesh are flooded with Climate Adaptation Funds”.  This statement is an indication that availability and access to adaptation funds is less of an issue for this country and that the more important issue is the careful monitoring of the use of such fund and observation of the impact of adaptation financing in Bangladesh.

One of the key speakers further indicated that it is important to set national level priorities carefully and in a strategic manner whilst also focusing upon the customary/traditional practices that support adaptation.

A Minister from Indonesia also raised the need for developing country governments in Asia and the Pacific region to be skillful in dealing with donors and be clear about what they want to do and how their communities could adapt. Similarly, while reading through one of the posting from the ongoing Cancun COP16 summit, a delegate wrote, “the thing with these donors is that they all have their own agendas. They don’t know what we need locally, or what suits us. That’s why looking at local solutions for adaptation is so important. There shouldn’t be so many strings” (http://bit.ly/gc8J2t ).

Before discussing the adaptation or mitigation related funding it’s very important that there is thorough consultation among the people so that priorities are well understood.  In addition, it is important to understand the requirements and accountabilities in accessing and using funds.  Judicious assessment and use of funds is required as ultimately it is the community structure that will be responsible for the success or failure of any such program and ultimately it is the people not the donors that are impacted by the good and bad decisions.  In this context, it is also important that our communities are well equipped and are aware about their rights particularly in relation to key aspects such as access to information, equitable access to justice and that they are involved at each level of planning and implementation.

I take example from Himalayan Mountains, in certain climatic context there is lot of data available through the various universities, research institutions, government agencies and among others but this is often not openly shared and not accessible to the practitioners. The sharing mechanism is further constrained by poor communication strategies and forward linkages.  This can at times appear so constrained that it appears that the region is in data deficit on various cross cutting issues. The critical aspect is that there is no mechanism in place through which one can facilitate the process of dialogue among scientists and policy makers, policy makers and practitioners and likewise [www.chimalaya.org ].

In my opinion the primary need is to identify the key players and practitioners in the region that can contribute substantially towards adaptation actions. This will require a thorough review of the agencies that have potential for substantial impact based on their experience and expertise.  Based on this assessment of funding can be allocated to agencies from an identified funding pool (from grant and private agencies).  It would be recommended that the review be lead by an established nodal agency that will also ensure that a judicious and robust monitoring mechanism is in place.  In terms of adaptation fund use, the focus should be in generating awareness, knowledge management, capacity building and developing selected sustaining models in various cross cutting sectors and thematic areas.

It is also important that the general public is well informed about the vulnerabilities related to climatic changes and what organisations and mechanisms are available that can help in taking action to address the issues.

Development partners, specifically donors, should also consider the credibility and intentions of big players in private and public sector agencies including international bodies, universities, research institutions and NGOs before deciding upon the most appropriate funding support.  Donors should also be alert to high administrative costs associated to projects and financing. The effective use of funds can only be ensured by robust processes from feasibility studies in early concept stages to effective monitoring and evaluation of implementation.

For development partners to improve access to climate change resource funding should be allocated on a needs basis, with the decision on priorities being taken in consultation with the targeted communities. To improve the management of resource there must be a focus on ensuring that all development partners have a fair financial policy with drive for achievable results. Any type of research proposal or publication should have a very clear-cut forward linkage and sharing dimension and the ultimate outcome or impact being measured by the donor or monitoring agency.  [Contribution to UN Pacific Solution Exchange]