Friday, November 18, 2011

More on managing climate change aid

A primary goal of our work, published in Science, about managing climate change financing is to encourage the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to learn from the failures and successes of international aid in the design of the "Green Climate Fund". We argue that the initial $30 billion in "fast-track" financing to the Green Climate Fund represents an opportunity to demonstrate that funding pledges will be met, waste and misappropriation will be minimized, and the money will support the most effective climate change projects. This is critical in building the public and political will to meet the long-term pledge of mobilizing $100 billion per year by the year 2020.

Stories about this work are beginning to appear in the Canadian and international media, including Agence France Press, the Canadian Press (here via the CBC), the Vancouver Sun and elsewhere. For the most part, the articles I have seen capture some of the key points in our research paper, but as is always the case, there are important nuances to the research that can be missed from only seeing the short media articles.

There's one point in particular that I'd like to clarify: The lede of CP wire story, which appears in some publications, says "The UN's past record of suddenly injecting vast sums of money into countries to solve a problem doesn't bode well for the future of the massive Green Climate Fund say three University of British Columbia professors."

On this point, I must be clear: our work does not specifically mention or target the past practices of the United Nations or its agencies (nor, for that matter, does it state that the GCF is already being mismanaged). In the article, we look at evidence from across the whole international aid world, and provide advice for managing the GCF based on that evidence.

Raising, managing and disbursing international aid is inherently challenging, regardless of the organization or agency involved. Learning from the recent history of international aid can help ensure that the funding pledges are met and that the money provides real results in the developing world.

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