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Zambia Rundown

by: Kairos dela Cruz

As an issue, climate change seems simple when compared to the complex approaches required to address it.

For instance, finance is often considered one of the most complicated — and contentious — issues raised during climate change treaty negotiations, where of late country delegations seem to mostly just agree to disagree.

It’s a mess and I’m not exactly sure how to fix it all. But then let me tell you too that more often than not nowadays the starting point should be based on simple things. When it comes to resources, the big questions haven’t really changed — how much is needed, based on what, and how soon and how effectively can funding be deployed and used? And then — how do we determine that financing has been effectively used, based on what metrics?

I was invited to Zambia’s National Symposium on Adaptation Finance Accountability, Transparency, and Governance to share lessons we have learned from implementing the Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI) in the Philippines.

The event felt longer than necessary since it was apparent that sessions were organized to fit everything in one day. It was a big ticket event, after all; no less than the country’s vice president opened the proceedings.

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Vice President Guy Scott receives Oxfam’s reports on adaptation finance accountability in Zambia.

Organizations from different lines of work were invited, from funders to province-based local organizations, to cover as much ground as possible in the pursuit of better accountability and transparency in climate finance. Major TV and radio stations were also present.

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Pieter Terpstra of WRI presents the global perspective of AFAI.

Each speaker was given 30 minutes each to present. Pieter Terpstra from the World Resources Institute (WRI), presented AFAI in a global perspective by highlighting the importance of differentiated roles actors play based on differing levels of accountability. LIterally taller than most people, Pieter gave a good overview of work across the diverse regions of Africa and Asia.

I presented the Philippine experience in implementing AFAI and said we’ve mostly approached things from other angles compared to AFAI partners in Nepal, Uganda and Zambia.

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ZCCN’s Noah Zimba presented the major findings in Zambia on adaptation finance spending and prioritization using the AFAI lens.

Noah Zimba, Coordinator of the Zambia Climate Change Network (ZCCN), share the key findings of their research tracking climate funds in Zambia. His presentation raised the eyebrows of some in the audience, particularly people from the government. The response was more or less expected, since Noah mostly pointed out that the Zambian government had an almost zero percent share in total climate change adaptation funding. The view was quickly contested.

For the most part of the afternoon, discussions were concentrated largely in open forum sessions and plenary. Questions were raised and critiques thrown but I sensed the goal of pursuing accountability in the deployment and administration of adaptation funds (and maybe many  other funds) was finally set quite firmly that day. A follow-up meeting on the advocacy plan of Zambia for AFAI was scheduled right before the final wrap-up.

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Martin Sishekanu, an official from the Interim Inter-Ministerial Climate Change Secretariat of Zambia, raises questions about the research findings and assures the audience that the government is doing everything it can to mobilize more funds for adaptation.

It seems Zambia is now ready to dive deeper into the chaos of numbers, just so it can emerge with a more coherent menu of policy options that can meet the growing needs of its many vulnerable communities.

I’d like to think we in iCSC are now even more ready to lend a helping hand — from one developing country civil society group to others in other developing countries — by sharing experience and pushing for an advocacy agenda where developing countries are more determined to help one another rather than wait for wisdom or the largesse of the rich.

 

 

Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series. Other blogs on Zambia are accessible by clicking the titles, Off to Zambia, Welcome surprises, and Straight Forward take on CF. You can download the AFAI Philippine report here.

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