The first day of the AFAI Asia Regional Workshop was spent with introductions and country specific presentations from the Philippines and Nepal. According to coffee break conversations, everyone is interested to know the “how” side of things. We got to work on the second day, which concentrated on the technical and advocacy sides of AFAI.
On the second day, I finally met Lisa Dougherty-Choux from the World Resources Institute (WRI), whom I only knew through skype when we discussed the Organization for Economic and Co-operation and Development (OECD) data for the Philippines. She presented a step-by-step guide in accessing and managing the OECD database. She also shared their experiences from analyzing the data and updating the donor countries’ reports. A part of my job as the Policy Analyst of iCSC is managing and analyzing the Philippine adaptation finance flow data (OECD data) pre-rapped by WRI. The hands on sessions made sense of my data mining and analyzing work. Managing a huge data like OECD is harder than I thought.
While the morning session concentrated on the technical work of AFAI, the afternoon session was dedicated to breakout group discussions. Different point of views on transparency and accountability were discussed during the breakout sessions. Some participants even pushed for the establishment of an open source data system of adaptation finance based on an international standardized tagging system. This was pointed out as the most essential first step that donor countries should consider – making data access as easy as committing funds to a country. Linkages between accountable and transparent adaptation finance and the international climate negotiations were also made. Obviously, the current state of climate funds in developing countries such as the Philippines is essential in leveraging more resources for resilient development.
At levels should transparency and accountability be present? What are the concerns at the national level? How do government from the receiving end (such as the Philippines) view accountability and transparency?
The workshop was able to provide pieces of information that can shed light on these questions by presenting opportunities to strengthen fiduciary standards in the international arena without compromising the greater national responsibility of securing adamant national policies in ensuring an accountable and transparent climate finance.
What are the ways forward?
Our group discussed the need to track the effectiveness of adaptation-tagged funding in the Philippines. The importance of developing more effective strategies that could build momentum is essential in securing a bigger in from the national government.
Furthermore, climate lens sharing by developing local tracking tools of adaptation finance through monitoring and evaluation of adaptation projects in national and local government projects is a collaborative way of improving climate finance governance. I was assured when CPBRD Director Bangsal said “we should work with the system, not against it.” This was the agreement after the acceptance that the Climate Change Commission (CCC) is still relatively weak in terms of assuming its mandate as the information hub of climate finance in the country.
We may sound to be overreaching with what we set as goals for the Philippines. However we realized that these objectives are comparable to the task of climbing the Golden Mount; it can be overwhelmingbut when you start walking up to its peak, taking one step at time, you’ll see a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
I see AFAI growing in the same way, building a network one step at a time to see a full view on how to improve climate finance governance through working processes of accountability and transparency.