TNRC Blog Collaboration Avenues: Targeting corruption linked to climate finance

Collaboration avenues: Targeting corruption linked to climate finance

This blog post outlines key issues and approaches discussed in the meetings of the Countering Environmental Crime Practitioners Forum Climate Finance Working Group. This working group brings together a circle of interested practitioners from the conservation and anti-corruption communities for active collaboration. Stay tuned for periodic updates.

About the Climate Finance Working Group

This group explores how corruption threatens climate efforts and supports the exchange of ideas on ways to address related issues. Strengthened collaboration between experts in the anti-corruption and conservation communities is essential to bridge knowledge gaps and advance solutions.

Meetings of the Climate Finance Working Group are chaired by Transparency International (TI) with support from the Green Climate Fund and are open to any professional in the Countering Environmental Crime Practitioners Forum who seeks to target corruption linked to climate finance. Sessions are held under Chatham House rules and convene virtually every other month. Updates, including member-recommended case studies and resources, are shared in this space. To join the working group meetings, sign up for the forum.

The Challenge

What is climate finance corruption?

The climate crisis is arguably the biggest global challenge that we collectively face. Scientists predict we have a 10- to 30-year window to reduce carbon emissions if we want to contain global warming to 1.5°C and avoid catastrophic climate change. The cost of responding to it, adapting to and mitigating the worst effects of global heating, will be immense. These huge financial investments create tempting opportunities for corruption.

Examples of corruption linked to climate finance include, but are not limited to:

  • Politicians establishing policies or laws that serve the interests of extractive industries rather than the public good, in exchange for financial compensation or favors;
  • Companies or individuals laundering profits from illegal land conversion through shell companies;
  • Failed or faulty infrastructure projects, such as coastal defences or emergency shelters, for which contracts are awarded to those with ties to government; and
  • Appropriation of indigenous peoples’ lands and harassment, intimidation or killing of those who raise their voices.
  • Lobbyists with ties to fossil fuel companies having an undue and disproportionate influence on the outcome of public talks on climate in important summits, thus delaying or negatively impacting climate action.
  • Video: Corruption and the Climate Crisis | Transparency International

What Needs to Change

Members of this working group have discussed the following opportunities for future cooperation:

  •   Exchange case studies about specific types of climate finance corruption;
  •   Share learnings about anti-corruption in the climate domain;
  •   Showcase the use of specific tools that are relevant for climate finance and anti-corruption;
  •   Advocate for further research/ studies to better understand the manifestation and consequences of corruption on the environment.

Avenues for addressing corruption linked to climate finance

In order to respond to this challenge, we need:

  •   Case studies that improve understanding of the challenges and impacts of corruption that facilitates climate change, which may otherwise seem too abstract to grasp
  •   A living body of knowledge about integrity in climate finance
  •   Good governance measures inserted into every climate fund and project that:
  • Make budgets, financial flows, and other relevant data publicly available.
  • Involve local communities in decisions about how money is invested and spent.
  • Implement safeguards to prevent public officials and private operators getting kickbacks from climate projects.
  • Require accountability systems to ensure independent monitoring of climate actions.
  • Have safe and accessible complaint mechanisms that are available and promoted.
  • Protect whistleblowers and sanction corrupt actors.

Recommended Tools

  • Climate & Corruption Case Atlas: The first tool of its kind, this Atlas brings together case stories, analysis and learning about corruption trends in climate finance and projects. Drawing on global experience – from fossil-fuel lobbying to the illegal rosewood trade – its insights can support a wide range of climate stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners, donors, civil society, affected communities, the media and activists.
  • Peer-to-Peer Learning Alliance (P2P LA) on Climate Finance Integrity: This Alliance provides a platform for national and regional Accredited Entities (AEs) to share challenges, experiences, and knowledge in a safe space. This enables them to adopt and implement robust integrity and anti-corruption policies and stakeholder engagement, safeguarding climate finance resources from corruption and misuse.

Stay Connected

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LinkedIn Group: Countering Environmental Corruption Practitioners Forum

This LinkedIn group is a dedicated space for the members to promote practices, share experiences, and learn from each other. The group is open to professionals from diverse backgrounds, including government, civil society, academia, and the private sector, committed to addressing environmental corruption and promoting sustainable development. Subscription to the forum is required to join this group.

Not a member? Sign up for the forum

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Image attribution: © / Jen Guyton / WWF; © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF; © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK; © Hkun Lat / WWF-Aus