Toward locally – controlled adaptation funding

Funding is a key feature for the proper application of resilience. Dodman claims that there are two sides about adaptation: 1) adaptation is a local priority and 2) urban governance requires participation between: local authority, society, and private sector. Adaptation can be costly but also cost effective while finance can build long lasting resilience for local communities.

Surborg, working for GIZ in Bangladesh, claimed that if climate change increases climate calamity, the local level is the one which will be the most affected. Normally, the flow of money occurs from Donor countries (Polluter countries) to developing countries through multilevel institutions. This represents many channels how money flows inside developing countries. The governments spend almost ten times more than that of donors on climate change in Bangladesh and these two-way flows of money do not interact with each other. At the moment, the way to spend the money resembles a top-down process. This involves no involvement of the local communities. There is a great need of locally controlled finance. Municipalities need to have in their budget focusing on local climate change adaptation shares. They should have a more straight accountability about where the money will end up.

Archer, focuses on certain drivers of vulnerability such as socio-economic and physical factors. Finance is unaccountable on the ground making it inadequate. Inaccessibility to the project is one of the most important parts that need to change and be put into action. Climate adaptation finance shouldn’t be for development. Community Development Funds function on building on existing saving groups. It encourages collaboration across communities through revolving loans. The accountability and management aspects are made by urban poor countries. The revolving funds are made out of community savings groups. Other actors (bank, local government) can contribute directly to increase the revolving fund. They have the power to create vertical and horizontal linkages between actors e.g. planning policies. They fund hazard-reducing infrastructure, community adaptation, collective risk transfer (insurance mechanism). These funds directly structure and organize more efficiently the available funds for communities. They help meet development priorities to build resilience.

During the discussion, some major conclusions were drawn. Surborg stated that when dealing with donor funding, the best adaptation measure would be for proper governance systems to coordinate efficiently with regional, national, and international boards. “People cannot just bleed out the money needed for these institutions; there is a need for local autonomy.” If you are in a developing country, it is difficult to make a distancing line with regards to resilience. People may become more resilient if they have the capability of moving to new land or the possibility to keep the land for an extensive amount of years. Apparently 50% of the donor money is spent on mitigation while the other 50% is spent on adaptation. Archer claims that when talking about resilience, it’s not all just about bouncing back but bouncing forward so that after certain crises, the city does not end up with another slum; hopefully living conditions and local governments are improved allowing people more freedom of speech and more chances for change. Dodman believes that there is a paradox about how large funds can be. For example, New York City is asking for a $10 billion fund dealing with its infrastructure by the next 10 years which is basically impossible to complete. It is all about starting small (smaller more achievable funds) before jumping directly into ones that have low probability of success.


Written by Glen Bornhoft & Fracesco Basili
(Social Media Volunteers)