The 10th Exchange Series “Effective Capacity Building for Accessing Climate Finance” E-Discussion Report
Participants, including government officials and climate finance experts, of the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific supported 10th Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) Exchange Series agreed that countries need to build up their skills to prepare good project proposals in order to better access climate change adaptation financing.
Over a two-week period (5 – 18 Nov 2015), Dr. Peter King and Dr. Piyachatr Pradubraj asked participants what they thought were the skills needed – or were missing – for countries to acquire the necessary capacity to access climate financing. They also wanted to explore how best to develop country capacities to manage the project preparation process so as to ensure ownership and sustainability of adaptation activities.
Dr. King is the Adaptation Project Preparation and Finance Senior Advisor for the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project. He is also the Senior Policy Advisor at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Regional Centre based in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Piyachatr Pradubraj is USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific's Regional Technical Coordinator and she also leads the Government Training Support Program – a program that addresses the region’s capacity building needs for adaptation.
The topic “Effective Capacity Building for Accessing Climate Finance: Examples and Experiences” drew responses from local and national government officials, as well as development partners from around the region, including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The importance of mainstreaming adaptation into development plans resonated among the government officials, because it inherently has financing implications, particularly with regards to accessing domestic funding sources. “If there is no budget allocation, then even well-designed projects will not proceed,” explained Dr. King.
The lack of capacity to prepare project proposals that meet international donor standards was another critical issue raised. “This is a fundamental skill we often see missing in many country officials,” said Dr. King. One participant from India also noted that “proposal writing is an art itself”.
Others have raised that disbursement procedures from donors should be made clear, collaboration and communication between different government agencies should be strengthened, and local needs have to be better understood for effective adaptation to take place.
In terms of ensuring that capacity building is effective and long-lasting, both country official and development partner contributors emphasized the need to select the right participant or “local champion”. This, however, is a “necessary but not a sufficient condition to enable institutional change,” said another participant.
One contributor pointed out the inevitable movement of trained officers away from climate change roles as a persistent challenge to building institutional capacities; while, at the same time, another noted that incorporating climate change job descriptions into the organizational structure could support continuity should an officer depart. “But as climate change impinges on nearly all sectors, transfer between sectors is not necessarily an overall loss of capacity at the national level,” Dr. King added.
Full responses from the 10th APAN Exchange Series is available in the consolidated replies report accessible here: http://asiapacificadapt.net/exchange/10th-exchange-series
The APAN Exchange Series is a facilitated email information exchange platform operated and supported by USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific since September 2013. The Exchange seeks to capture, consolidate, and share tacit, experience-based knowledge from government officials and development partners within the APAN community.