Rights groups have urged global leaders to ensure governance as well as transparency in the Paris Rulebook for the sake of effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, adopted two years ago, in order to reduce the climate change vulnerability.
In addition, transparency should not be a requirement for the developing countries only, but for the developed countries too, as in most cases, their policies regarding the disbursement of climate fund is vague, they further said.
The climate activists made the call during a session of the UN climate summit titled “Strengthening the Paris Agreement Transparency Framework” on Friday.
Europe-based climate organisation Carbon Market Watch, US-based environment law firm Centre of International Environmental Law, Transparency International and German NGO Forum on Environment and Development jointly organised the session.
The UN climate summit, the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23), is currently in progress in Bonn, Germany, hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Paris Agreement states that, in order to build mutual trust and confidence and to promote effective implementation, an enhanced transparency framework for action and support has to be established with built-in flexibility, which takes into account the party countries' different capacities and builds upon collective experience.
Finalising the implementation guideline for the Paris Agreement, known as Paris Rulebook, is one of the top priorities in the climate conference this year.
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Speaking at the session, Zakir Hossain Khan of Transparency International Bangladesh, who is attending the conference as an observer, said: “Ensuring transparency in Paris Rulebook is urgent because without having clear and balanced directions, the implementation of Paris Agreement will not be fruitful for the vulnerable nations.”
Regarding finance, Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, director of climate change wing at Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and a member of the Bangladesh delegation at the conference, said: “Climate finance should be defined with due consideration of public finance and meaningful governance mechanism for both the developed and the developing countries to support the people vulnerable to climate change impacts
Furthermore, a uniform reporting system should be introduced in the rulebook, especially in case of climate finance, in order to avoid double counting of a donation or a disbursement, he added.
Negotiators from developing countries have been expressing concern regarding how developed countries have been confusing the Official Development Assistance (ODA) with the climate finance.
The developed countries who are party to the Paris Agreement recognised the “Polluters Pay Principle” and committed to provide new and additional financial resources to the ODA to cover the losses incurred by developing countries due to climate change.
The Adaptation Finance Transparency Gap Report, published in 2016, says the overall findings suggest that countries are not being adequately transparent in their reporting of climate finance, and at the very least are failing to meet UNFCCC guidelines in their reporting process.
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A similar scenario is seen in case of the vulnerable countries as they are at the bottom quintile of the 2016 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International.
“Such developing countries need to prioritise ensuring good governance in climate finance for the ultimate protection of lives and livelihoods of affected communities,” said Mahesh Pandya, a delegate from India.
As developed and developing countries lack transparency while handling climate finance, the rulebook needs to have specific guidelines so everyone is accountable, he added.
Zakir Hossain Khan particularly stressed the importance of transparency, accountability, coherence and integrity of developed countries so developing or the Least Developed Countries do not fall into climate debt trap in the name of climate finance.
He suggested providing all the climate finance through Green Climate Fund and avoiding the bilateral channel so all the transactions can be tracked and there is no scope for double payment.
Since the UNFCCC was formed in 1994, the member countries have acknowledged the fact that the developed world is historically liable for climate change.
Under the Paris Agreement, adopted during COP21 in Paris, France in 2015, the developed countries pledged to scale up their financial support, with a concrete road map, to achieve the goal of mobilising $100 billion every year by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation mechanisms to tackle climate change impacts in developing countries.