by Danica Marie Supnet
I recently went to Vietnam for the first time to convene a three-day skillshare on the Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI) with a few colleagues from ICSC.
AFAI is an international research initiative tracking how climate finance committed by donor countries and organizations has been received and utilized by recipient countries such as the Philippines. Established in 2013 by Oxfam America, World Resources Institute, and Overseas Development Institute, this Southern-led project was piloted in the Zambia, Nepal, Uganda, and the Philippines, where ICSC was the Philippine lead.
Despite AFAI’s end in 2015, ICSC not only sustained the initiative but established AFAI+. We added mitigation finance in the list of funds tracked and convened skillshares, first with Philippine policymakers then with Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity), a civil society organization based in Jakarta, Indonesia. And just last June 2018, we organized our second skillshare with the Green Innovation Development Centre (GreenID) in Hanoi.
ICSC and GreenID have been working together in several Southeast Asia-wide initiatives on climate and energy. Led by Nguy Thi Khanh, an awardee of this year’s Goldman environmental prize, GreenID is a non-profit organization promoting sustainable development in Vietnam and the larger Mekong region. The organization is well known for its leading work on sustainable alternative energy, water solutions, and climate change. GreenID also coordinates the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA).
Like ICSC, GreenID also sees climate finance tracking as an important tool in their campaigning and advocacy work. We spent our three-day skillshare talking about experiences in the Philippines and testing tools we’ve been using to track climate finance, and our team was delighted to discover how receptive and eager Khanh’s team was.
Philippine climate change policy is usually described as primarily anchored on adaptation, with mitigation treated as a function of adaptation itself. This is the main reason why ICSC first took on the task of helping make adaptation finance more transparent and accountable.
Vietnam, on the other hand, institutionalized the National Target Programme to Respond to Climate Change (NTR-RCC) to strengthen the government’s climate policy agenda on disaster resilience, climate change adaptation, and cleaner energy solutions1. Vietnam’s current lead in clean energy investment, for example, is in line with its National Green Growth Strategy. GreenID’s current work coincides with the Vietnamese government’s climate policy agenda, which is also why they find climate finance tracking important.GreenID is now looking at how to apply what they have learned in the skillshare to their existing work. Both organizations recognize that climate finance plays an important role in supporting developing countries to build resilience as well as to adapt to and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.
Together with GreenID, ICSC seeks to establish an Asian climate finance community of practice. This South-to-South initiative shall promote tracking and monitoring climate finance to help contributors and recipient countries make better decisions in climate finance.
As we met new friends from GreenID and explored Hanoi for the first time, our team discovered several things that Vietnam and the Philippines have in common: from typhoon pathways as well as food production and trade.
Both countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change, which is why it is very important that both also lead in climate action, including climate finance accountability and transparency.
Danica Marie Supnet is the research coordinator of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), an international climate and energy policy group based in the Philippines