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Where are the climate funds, how were they allotted, and how will they be spent?

This time it’s not just non-government organizations raising the questions.

This time it’s the legislators themselves demanding accountability regarding the Philippines’ climate change funds.

Taking the lead is Tarlac, 2nd District, Representative Susan Yap, echoing what others–including the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC)–have long been clamoring for.

“We all know that impacts from climate change are making things worse for the poorest Filipinos whose vulnerability is continuing to grow day by day. We are talking about millions of dollars that could have made a difference in the lives of the people. Knowing how it was spent should be in our list of priorities if we are keen to build strong adaptive capacity to climate change and resilient communities in the country”, Yap said.

Yap, who is also the president of the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) Philippines, has called for the immediate accounting and tracking of climate finance in the Philippines to ensure better planning and transparency. GLOBE’s  mission is to create a critical mass of legislators that can agree and advance common legislative responses to climate change, forests, natural capital accounting and to sustainable development challenges.

To this end, she called on her fellow legislators to join the effort in tracking funds intended and spent for climate change adaptation initiatives during the launch of the climate finance portal, Adaptracker.org.

The website forms part of the Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI), a global effort that seeks to track international funds that are reported to finance adaptation initiatives.

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How much are we getting? BUTIL Party list Rep. Agapito Guanlao tries first hand Adaptracker’s visual representation of adaptation finance flows to the Philippines during its launch at the Knowledge for Development Center in the House of Representatives on June 10, 2014. (Photo: AC Dimatatac/iCSC)

Recently, the AFAI reported that the Philippines received climate change adaptation funds worth USD300 million or Php13 billion from 2009-2012.

AFAI based its data from the funds used for financing climate change adaptation initiatives according to contributing countries, international banks, and international organizations. AFAI is ongoing in four countries, Uganda, Zambia, Nepal, and Philippines.

“With AFAI and Adaptracker, we can start a new conversation that would strike the perfect balance between access and fiduciary standards in climate finance sourced internationally and locally, which will put us in the better position to setup and implement plans for adapting to the changing climate,” Yap added.

Adaptracker was showcased in an event co-organized by iCSC and the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) last June 10, 2014 in the Knowledge for Development Center at the House of Representatives.

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) is leading AFAI in the Philippines.

According to Kairos dela Cruz, policy coordinator of iCSC, “The volume of data that we have gathered so far is a daunting proof that there is money flowing in to the Philippines for climate change adaptation. It is the right time that we start asking where did it go and how was it spent.”

Adaptracker uses the platform used in a tax-based tracking effort in the United Kingdom that engages users using graphic representations and simplified explanations.

For his part, Novel Bangsal, CPBRD’s Director, said that “The findings and data on climate finance is a welcome addition to our office’s resources that we use in our policy work.”

“Adaptracker allows us to use climate finance data in such a way that it is understandable and conversational,” he added.

The Philippines, being one of the most vulnerable countries to climatic impacts, has yet to establish its very own climate finance arm through the implementation of R.A. 10174 or the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).

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