After doing the soft launch of Adaptracker with chosen friends and colleagues from the House of Representatives (HoR) last June 10, 2014, the question “why adaptation finance accountability should be local?” has been bugging me.
The question was first raised by Pamela Manalo, the lead on fiscal policy studies from our partner office that helped in organizing the event, the Congressional Policy Budget and Research Department (CPBRD). “What is the end goal of local tracking?”, Pam asked. Coming from someone who had her share of tracking Official Development Assistance (ODA), we knew on the spot that the question is critical to the whole Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI).
With a few seconds of thinking, we responded with the strong assertion that tracking local implementation of climate funds will allow us to examine closely whether these funds are really used for its original intention of making the Philippines more climate resilient and how the funds were gelled into other sources of funds that can be used for the same purpose.
Based on the AFAI report, local tracking of climate adaptation finance is essential in order to present a detailed assessment account for climate adaptation finance in the local institutional context and understand their effectiveness in ensuring adaptation finance answers the needs of the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Learning from our experiences on field from Marinduque Torrijos and Gasan), Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur, local tracking presented the importance of utilizing climate adaptation funds into the local level.
Based on the findings, some of the climate adaptation funds were used into different adaptation projects that the local government sees as a need for their community (i.e. flood control project in Gasan, Marinduque and the parapet wall in San Esteban, Ilocos Sur that is seen as a solution to the recurring flood in the community).
On the other hand, some projects were tagged as disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR-CCA) project but in reality, it didn’t serve its purpose. This was noted on our trips in Torrijos, Marinduque’s “Municipal Crisis Intervention Center” and in Carrasi, Ilocos Norte’s “Farm-to-Market roads”. The discrepancy, however, was attributed to an error in tagging or encoding by the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) managing group.
As a general note, the preliminary local tracking that we have done was able to know the amount of climate adaptation fund given to the specific localities, the planning and consultation of projects with the local government and to its constituents, and how it has become helpful in strengthening climate adaptation in the localities.
Our team is gearing up for more local tracking field visits in the coming months.
Going back to the first question, what do we foresee with Adaptracker and local tracking?
We are hoping that it will be an eye opener for lawmakers to review climate adaptation policies in the Philippines. We are hoping that the data presented in Adaptracker will compel them to force the hand of the offices that are originally mandated to lead climate finance accountability and tracking.
AFAI’s local tracking and Adaptracker also provide opportunities to localities to come up with comprehensive climate adaptation initiatives that will not just be a “tic-of-a-box” but become part of a bigger and more sustainable adaptation agenda.
With Adaptracker as a benchmark, our office is seeking to land more partnerships that will transform accountability into future actions that can make local executives, civil society, legislators, and policy makers more prudent in handling the limited but important adaptation finance.