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Business Unusual – Can we collectively fix financing for locally-led adaptation? Featured

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Business Unusual – Can we collectively fix financing for locally-led adaptation?

Written by May Thazin Aung, Saqib Huq and Isabel Whisson

Adaptation finance is failing local actors at the frontlines of climate change. A very small proportion of funds disbursed by providers of climate adaptation finance arrives at the local level after being channelled through layers of international intermediaries. 

This meagre amount is incredibly hard for local actors to both access and use towards climate action as financing comes with numerous conditionalities encoded into provider’s and intermediaries’ operational rules and policies. For local organisations, these policies translate to confusing eligibility criteria, lengthy applications, rigid due diligence procedures and detailed financial and impact reporting.

It is vital that adaptation finance institutions transform institutional processes within their bureaucracies towards a more business unusual approach. This will require critical introspection around evaluating, absorbing and distributing risk - reputational, financial and political.

Multilateral funds and bilateral donors have stated their commitment to addressing these roadblocks. However, institutionalising change throughout complex bureaucracies in a way that reflects needs on the ground in communities affected by climate change, entails a thoughtful and inclusive process that needs to involve local actors directly tackling the issues being addressed.

BRAC, IIED and ICCCAD have been championing the shift towards an inclusive ‘business unusual’ approach to climate action along with leaders of federated grassroots and regional organisations from the global south. This month at the Fourth Global Gobeshona Conference, BRAC, ICCCAD and IIED are launching a joint initiative to engage stakeholders across the adaptation finance delivery chain, from bilateral donors, to funds, to local civil society actors to understand what the key bottlenecks are and how they may be ameliorated.

Gobeshona’s Keynote Discussion, ‘Business Unusual - How can we make financing for LLA more accessible? at 06:00 pm Bangladesh Standard Time (12:00 pm GMT) on Thursday 7 March, will initiate a discussion and share a survey to help us gather insights from both local civil society organisations working on the frontlines of climate change, as well as climate adaptation funders on the key challenges both sets of constituencies face in either accessing or simplifying climate adaptation financing.

We will use the findings to work with all relevant actors to identify a practical set of options that reflect the needs and priorities of local implementers engaged in the adaptation financing chain - among whom we share a common goal: to maximise the ability of climate-vulnerable communities to adapt to the climate crisis.

The survey will remain open until 30 April.

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