TNRC Knowledge Hub - Conservation Challenge: Climate change

Countering Corruption that Undermines Climate Progress

To reduce the impact of corruption on climate targets, strengthen systems that ensure integrity in climate finance, increase transparency in climate-related decision-making, and promote integrity in nature-based solutions.

Does your work focus on addressing climate change? Significant strengthening of governance systems is essential to reduce corruption risks and make climate change policy and finance less vulnerable to corruption. This page outlines three steps to start building anti-corruption approaches into your conservation programming.

The Challenge

  • Significant investments are flowing into projects to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation. More will come. Tackling this triple crisis will require a USD 8 trillion investment in nature by 2050, according to some estimates.
  • New investments draw new corruption risks. Corruption can divert resources away from efforts to address, mitigate, and adapt to climate change and restore and rely more upon nature.
  • Research done by Transparency International Bangladesh in 2020 sampling climate adaptation infrastructure projects from 2010 forward estimated that 35% of project funds are being embezzled, and nearly 80% of projects are poorly constructed because of leakages from corruption.
  • To prevent corruption from undermining climate progress, consider partnerships and new approaches to strengthen integrity in climate finance, increase transparency in climate-related decision-making, and promote integrity in nature-based solutions.

Three Steps to Follow

infographic of three steps

Step 1: Understand Corruption Get familiar with how corruption impacts conservation and ways to respond

Whether you have decades of experience or are new to the field, you may not know exactly where corruption risks lie, how they might be influencing your conservation outcomes, and what can be done about them. Start by taking the 90-minute eCourse below.

Step 2: Assess Your Situation Identify how corruption affects the objectives of your own programming

Best results will come from layering interventions at multiple risk points. The first step is to think about who has power in your implementing context. You can then start to identify drivers and facilitators of corruption and entry points for—as well as limitations on—change. The resources below will help you to ask the right questions and identify those risk points.

La Chorrera indigenous community and WWF-Colombia

Situation Analysis

Learn more about assessing the threats that corruption may pose to conservation objectives and identify responses that are appropriate to your specific context.

Step 3: Adapt Your Programming Consider approaches that fit your needs

Consider whether some of the programming avenues below would help to address your challenges. Take a moment to read these principles for getting started from recent experience testing anti-corruption approaches in various contexts.

Remember: Evidence suggests that targeting corruption through multiple approaches yields best results.

  • Landscape photo of city skyline at night
    Are high-level actors such as corrupt officials and organized criminals embezzling climate finances?

    Prevent and detect illicit financial flows tied to climate finance

    Explore the Illicit Financial Flows Guide
  • Community members gathering together
    Are climate investments and projects failing to take community needs into account or undermining rights?

    Advance nature-based solutions and other inclusive conservation approaches

    Explore the Communities & Inclusion Guide
  • Landscape of ocean and sky
    Do decisions and investments lack transparency, thus enabling corruption?

    Increase the public's access to information on climate-related decision-making, climate finance and carbon markets; empower people with a say over public decisions; and help ensure that rules are followed

    Explore the Open Governance Guide

Seeking Advisors and Partners?

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