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Donor financing for PHL climate adaptation overstated, NGO claims

CARE INTERNATIONAL, a non-governmental organization (NGO), said the reported $6.2 billion in donor financing for climate change adaptation projects in six countries, including the Philippines, between 2013 and 2017 was likely overstated by about 42%.

Geneva-based CARE International said in a report-co-written by the Philippines’ Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, among others, that it studied 112 internationally-funded adaptation projects launched in the six developing countries in Africa and Asia.

“The total adaptation finance reported for these projects by donors is $6.2 billion, representing 13% of the climate adaptation funding provided to all developing countries over the five-year period, as reported by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 2019. Our research reveals that $2.6 billion of this adaptation finance has been overreported in official estimates,” it said in the report.

“This means that in reality, climate adaptation finance only represents about 58% of what donors reported,” it added.

The findings were arrived at after assessments of project documentation and in-country input from civil society partners, which were then compared with the information found in donor’s reports.

CARE said the main cause of over-reporting was projects classified as “adaptation-relevant” even when not targeted at climate adaptation. Other projects, it said, had overstated their relevance to climate adaptation.

“The provision of finance for adaptation purposes is therefore significantly lower than current international aggregates suggest,” CARE said.

In a statement on Jan. 21, CARE said: “The research found climate adaptation finance to be over-reported by 42%, which if applied to the remaining projects, would result in $20 billion of over-reporting across this time period.”

It cited the Philippines’ experience as a beneficiary of a $470-million post-disaster standby loan from Japan in 2014, and development aid of around $109 million from France in 2017.

Access to Japan’s post-disaster standby loan was triggered when the country declared a “national state of calamity” after it was hit by Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). CARE found that around 53% of the loan’s adaptation financing was overstated by Japan.

It added that around 15% of France’s aid in 2017 was overstated by the French development agency.

CARE said the appropriate practice to avoid overstating aid is to separate adaptation finance from financing for non-adaptation purposes.

In the statement last month, CARE Denmark’s Senior Advocacy Adviser of Climate John Nordbo, who was also one of the authors of the report, said: “The world’s poorest people are not responsible for the climate crisis yet are the hardest hit. 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. 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.” — Angelica Y. Yang

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