Podcast: four countries working together to get climate finance to the local level

Government and non-government institutions in Senegal, Mali, Tanzania and Kenya are working out the best and most inclusive way to get funding for sustainable climate investment to the local level. Members of this devolved climate finance alliance share their experience in a new podcast.

News, 22 April 2020

While no countries will be spared the negative impacts of climate change, developing countries, particularly the least developed, will experience the effects most keenly. Their location, economic reliance on natural resources and limited capacity to respond to climate hazards, all play a part. 

These same factors also lead to people on low incomes being critically affected. Without an adequate response, the climate crisis is likely to entrench or deepen existing poverty.

By signing up to the Paris Agreement, the global community has committed to protecting vulnerable people, communities, and sectors from extreme weather events. Countries worldwide have agreed to build resilience through helping their citizens to adapt to climate change.

Millions of dollars are being mobilised by governments, businesses, and individuals for this purpose, but the question is: how can it get to where it matters, to those communities and people who need it most?

In the third instalment of the 'People, Planet and Public Finance' podcast, by IIED and the International Budget Partnership, IIED researcher Emilie Beauchamp and Bara Gueye, former director of IED Afrique in Senegal, discuss a new mechanism for getting public money to the local level; a mechanism that accounts for the need to reduce financial risk and ensure accountability.

What is stopping money getting to where it matters?

First is the fact that, despite countries committing millions in climate finance money, much of it has not yet been paid. Of the money that has been paid, only around US$1 in $10 is reaching the local level.

Then there’s the question of whether all governments know how to integrate climate actions with their planning. It requires accurate risk assessment and predictions to be done before decisions can be made.

For that to happen, the right people must be involved, and that is not always the case. Local communities, local businesses and local authorities are often left out of conversations.

How can that change?

IIED and IED Afrique in Senegal have been working alongside organisations in Kenya, Tanzania and Mali, as part of the Devolved Climate Finance Alliance to design a robust and inclusive way to invest in climate adaptation, using climate finance.

In this podcast, Beauchamp and Gueye describe the process and the mechanism that has resulted, with a focus on Senegal. They consider what has worked well and the challenges that remain: how, for example, can it be made sure that all parts of society are able to voice their needs, when some people – men, for example – are used to making decisions for all?

And while much has been achieved, in all four countries, more needs to be done, which will take time, especially if the participatory approach, key to the mechanism, is done in the right way.

As Beauchamp says: "Countries and donors need to be open to long-term programmes and to different ways of managing, money and relationships – open to new ways of doing development".


To mark Earth Day on 22 April, IIED researcher Florence Crick highlights the work of the DCF Alliance, and Adaptation Consortium coordinator Victor Orindi profiles work in Kenya that is helping to increase ambition on climate action

People, planet and public finance

Previous episodes of the 'People, planet and public finance' podcast have focused on how countries can “green” their budgets and how much are people and families spending to address climate impacts.

The latter features IIED chief economist Paul Steele and Shaikh Eskanderm from Kingston University London, the authors of 'Bearing the climate burden: how households in Bangladesh are spending too much'. It focuses on their disturbing findings on what poor rural households in Bangladesh are spending of their own money to deal with climate catastrophe, how these families’ future prospects and security are being hurt, and what governments and the international community should do.

  • Find out more about how IIED is researching the benefits and challenges of getting development and climate finance flowing to the local level through its Money Where It Matters programme.