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Friday July 19, 2024

Climate and governance

By Nudrat Fatima
December 07, 2023

In the wake of COP28’s landmark decision to establish a damage fund for climate crisis mitigation, the spotlight has turned to governance structures that will determine its success.

The creation and allocation of a Loss and Damage (L&D) fund marks a pivotal moment in climate policy, but the effectiveness of this fund depends largely on how it is governed, especially in countries severely impacted by climate disasters, like Pakistan.

A flood-affected area in Sindh can be seen in this aerial view. — AFP/File
A flood-affected area in Sindh can be seen in this aerial view. — AFP/File

The 2022 floods in Pakistan, affecting 30 million people, highlight the need for robust governance structures. Simply allocating funds is not enough; effective governance is key to ensuring these funds achieve their intended impact. There is a growing concern about what will happen to the allocated fund and how it can be safeguarded from corruption. This concern is particularly acute in regions where governance systems are weak or prone to corruption.

Transparency and accountability are fundamental to the effective utilization of the climate fund. Governance structures must ensure that funds are used efficiently, targeting the most vulnerable communities. Without transparent mechanisms, there is a risk of misallocation or mismanagement, which can dilute the fund’s impact.

Localized decision-making is also crucial. Governments need to engage local communities in fund allocation decisions, ensuring that the support meets their specific needs. This bottom-up approach ensures that those directly affected by climate change have a say in how funds are used, increasing the likelihood of successful interventions.

Strengthening local institutions is vital for countries that lack the institutional capacity to manage large-scale climate funds effectively. International support should not only be financial but also extend to capacity building. Training local institutions in fund management, disaster response, and sustainable development practices is crucial for long-term resilience.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation are necessary to ensure the proper use of funds. This allows for adjustments in strategies and ensures that funds are making a tangible difference in mitigating the impacts of climate disasters.

Global cooperation is essential in addressing climate change. High-income countries should go beyond funding; they need to share technology, expertise, and strategies for climate adaptation and mitigation. This collaborative approach ensures that L&D funds are supplemented with knowledge and resources, making a more substantial impact.

Linking fund allocation to sustainable development is also crucial. Investing in sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, and climate-smart agriculture not only addresses immediate needs but also contributes to long-term resilience.

Effective governance ensures that these funds reach those in dire need and are used in ways that foster long-term resilience and sustainable development. Without this, we risk repeating a cycle of disaster and response, failing to address the root causes and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.

The challenge is not just in allocating funds but ensuring they are managed effectively and transparently to avoid corruption and mismanagement.

In conclusion, while establishing a climate damage fund is a significant step, its success largely depends on the governance structures in place for its utilization.

The writer is a PhD scholar at Michigan State University, USA. She can be reached at: fatimanu@msu.edu