World Economy

Fraction of Climate Aid Reaching Poorest

The lack of international finance is a problem for severely underdeveloped countries.The lack of international finance is a problem for severely underdeveloped countries.

Less than 10% of funds spent to help poorer communities adapt to climate change impacts and adopt clean energy are reaching the people most in need of the money, finance researchers say.

In part, that is because international climate funds, under pressure to get donated funds into action, are opting to work with development banks and other big international agencies that can quickly spend millions—rather than with smaller-scale local governments and projects, said researchers at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development, Reuters reported.

Weak local ability to design and evaluate projects, and to fill out complicated forms to access money are another problem, the report said, as is the smaller scale of local projects, as vetting each one takes more time.

Another obstacle is the lack of a specific target in the Paris Agreement on climate change to spend more finance at the local level, the researchers said in a report released this week.

“Understanding how to get money where it matters is the challenge of the moment,” said Clare Shakya, climate change director at IIED and one of the report’s authors.

Today, donors have given only 11% of the climate funds they promised, in part because of the obstacles, she said.

Richer nations have promised to donate or otherwise mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries switch to clean energy and adapt to problems such as worsening droughts, flooding and sea level rise.

But getting that money raised and flowing has proved challenging.

The United States, for instance, has promised $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund and so far delivered $1 billion. But President Donald Trump has suggested he would not make any additional contributions, and may pull the United States out of its international climate agreements.

The lack of international finance is a problem for countries such as Ethiopia, which has estimated it needs $7.5 billion a year to switch to clean energy and adapt to climate change, but is so far receiving between $100 million and $200 million a year in international support, said Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at IIED.


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