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Fund Tracking Flaw seen in LGU Climate projects

By Victor V. Saulon

A MECHANISM for deploying financing to local climate change programs is still not available, hindering the ability to measure their effectiveness, an official with the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) said.

A total of P1 billion has been set aside for PSF, an annual allocation at the National Treasury created under a law passed in 2012 that is intended for local government units (LGUs) and accredited community organizations.

Apart from these funds, countries that consider themselves most vulnerable to the ill-effects of global warming are looking to tap billion of dollars from foreign public sources for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

“There’s no exact number. People are talking about a $100 billion globally annually from 2020. People are talking about other amounts — trillions,” said Renato Redentor Constantino, who represents civil society on the PSF board.

The funding issue is coming into focus a week before climate talks start in Paris, where countries aim to negotiate a legally binding accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

“While we are looking at the big amounts that need to be generated abroad, we need to pay attention to how that money can be re-deployed and how we can also track [these funds] so that the government can efficiently spend money for its own priorities for climate change,” said Mr. Constantino.

“What is more important is not the final figure but the mechanism that can deploy the resources not only to the country but from the country to the localities. That’s what is missing. We can’t even track finance properly right now,” he said.

“For instance, from 2009 to 2012 the total adaptation tag money that entered the Philippines half of it went to reconstruction and rehabilitation activities.”

Mr. Constantino said that without the mechanism, there are times that deployment of funds becomes a “problem of forum shopping.”

He said that if the fund was tagged for adaptation, the national government should have the means to receive the money consistently.

“We need to ensure that it actually flows direct to the communities, the most vulnerable,” he said. “It’s still far from ideal but one thing that’s really important is that national agencies including Congress is very aware of the problem and is taking steps to put some order into the dilemma that is created.”

Editor’s Note: This article is re-posted from Business World Online, November 23, 2015

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