Statement by Francine Pickup (New York)Friday, December 16, 2022Inter Press Service
NEW YORK, Dec 16 (IPS) — The author is Associate Director of the Bureau for Policy and Program Support, UNDPCClimate change is the defining issue of our time. In the words of the UN Secretary-General at COP27: “We are on a highway to climate hell, with our foot still on the accelerator.” be reduced to net zero.
At the same time, if we do not effectively combat corruption in climate protection, it will severely limit our ability to combat the climate crisis through increased adaptation and mitigation efforts.
According to Transparency International, up to 35 percent of climate protection funds have been lost through corruption in the last five years, depending on the program.
Corruption and the climate crisis reinforce each other
On the one hand, corruption fuels the climate crisis by depriving countries of much-needed revenues to address climate change and build resilience, while significantly altering the efficient allocation and distribution of resources to achieve development goals.
For example, according to the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, the top recipients of climate finance are among the places most at risk of corruption in the world.
On the other hand, climate impacts increase corruption by creating economic and social instability and inequality, fostering an environment conducive to corruption and misuse of funds, which ultimately disadvantages the poorest and most vulnerable.
Overcoming corruption in the fight against the climate crisis requires collective action and bold partnerships between government, the private sector and civil society to identify and tackle the problem through more effective management of resources and programs.
• Governments to increase their efforts on the environment • Businesses to strengthen business integrity • Media, youth and communities to continue to fight corruption.
The three immediate actions that require the commitment of all stakeholders:
1. Fund management: Much greater transparency and accountability is required in the use and management of climate finance in adaptation and mitigation programs.
Access to finance is often portrayed as a key barrier to just transition and transformative climate action, but that is only one side of the issue. On the other hand, it must be ensured that the resources urgently needed to deal with the climate crisis are not lost through corruption and mismanagement.
A good example is the Colombian Climate Finance Tracking System, which provides up-to-date data on national, public, private and international climate finance.
It is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) framework to transparently track the inflow and outflow of climate finance from public, private and international sources.
2. Voice and Accountability: This means harnessing the power of advocacy and accountability mechanisms and providing civic spaces for meaningful participation by society and empowering it to hold policymakers and the private sector accountable.
For example, UNDP is empowering communities in Uganda and Sri Lanka to use digital tools to establish integrity and transparency in the management of environmental resources. in sri lanka,
UNDP, in collaboration with the Department for Wildlife and Forest Conservation and other partners, has set up a digital platform for citizens to track and monitor illegal environmental activities. The initiative is supported by UNDP’s Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies (ACPIS) global project, funded by Norad – the Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency.
Meanwhile, UNDP and the National Forestry Authority in Uganda have launched the Uganda Natural Resource Information System (NARIS), designed to monitor and communicate deforestation across Uganda in order to protect the country’s forests and biodiversity.
In the climate change agenda, fighting corruption is not just about money. It is also about building trust in institutions and bringing hope for the future. Studies show that “environmental anxiety” is increasing, especially among young people.
A global study of 10,000 youth from 10 countries in 2021 found that over 50 percent of young people felt sad, afraid, angry, powerless, helpless and guilty in the face of climate change. But we have also seen how youth, civil society and communities from Serbia to India are taking action against environmental degradation and climate change.
Through UNDP’s climate pledge alone, more than 110,000 people have engaged in consultations with stakeholders to revise key national climate strategies known as Nationally Determined Contributions, helping to build social consensus and an explicit recognition of youth and youth leadership Women in a renewed climate create pledges in 120 countries.
3. The private sector has a key role to play: public capacities need to be strengthened to implement measures to regulate private sector activities to protect the environment. At the same time, companies with fair, human rights-based business practices, business integrity and ecological sustainability goals should make their contribution.
4. The normative framework to protect human rights: An increased focus on “environmental justice” at global and national levels is required. On July 28, 2022, the UN General Assembly passed a historic resolution universally recognizing the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (R2HE). UNDP promotes responsible business by strengthening human rights standards in 17 countries with support from Japan.
UNDP has supported over 100 national human rights institutions in addressing the human rights impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. In Tanzania, UNDP has supported the Human Rights and Good Governance Commission in resolving disputes related to environmental human rights violations. In Chile, UNDP has supported an ongoing process of constitutional reform that includes strong references to environmental rights.
The development community must ensure integrated approaches and break down the silos between governance and environmental communities; and between the public and private sectors to address the interconnected crises of corruption and climate change.
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