International charity WaterAid says billions of dollars in climate-related financial assistance pledged by developed nations over the last decade remain unused because developing countries are ill-equipped to spend the money, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.
Countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change often lack the capacity to implement, manage, and oversee projects to help them mitigate those risks, said WaterAid analyst Louise Whiting. "Countries that are most in need of adaptation finance are also those that are least able to spend it," she added, and more support is required "so they can actually spend the money and get it to where it is needed."
According to an analysis by WaterAid, only 15 percent of the $21.1 billion in climate finance approved by developed countries between 2003 and 2014 has been disbursed, with sub-Saharan African countries receiving less than 2.5 percent of the total. The analysis also found that the vast majority of climate finance is being spent on reducing carbon emissions in middle-income countries, while just 16 percent has been used for adaptation programs or securing access to clean water during floods or droughts.
"For families living in extreme poverty, with fragile access to safe water, good sanitation, and hygiene, these lengthening dry seasons and intensifying monsoons wipe out years of work and further entrench the cycle of poverty," said Whiting. "Safeguarding basic services, including clean water, sanitation and hygiene, helps communities recover faster and become more resilient to climatic extremes."