One of the biggest hang-ups to addressing climate change is finance. How are research projects funded? How are solutions funded so that they can be implemented at a meaningful scale? While finance was not my area of focus at COP 23, it certainly came up concerning “agriculture, forestry, and other land use” issues (AFOLU). One of the most impressionable moments I had at COP 23 concerned finance for adaptation in agriculture.
At a side event for “addressing climate change for a world free of hunger, malnutrition and poverty,” the conversation among the facilitators and stakeholders seemed collaborative. Then, Kagandga John, the Executive Director of Kikandwa Environmental Association (KEA) of Uganda, spoke. He started slowly, thanking the Chair and other members joining the roundtable discussion. He expressed his gratitude that finally agriculture and food security were being talked about seriously. Then his voice escalated. “You sit here and talk about funding innovative projects in agriculture. You even continue to suggest new pilot projects for our region.” At this point, he became animated, his voice nearing a crescendo. “But I will tell you now that WE ALREADY KNOW how to adapt our farming to climate change! Stop funding new pilot projects! Start funding projects that already work. Come to Uganda, we will show you.”
Part of the financing problem appears to be the mismanagement of available funds. Is this possible? For developing countries like Uganda, this inefficiency must be very frustrating. After the meeting, I spoke with Kagandga John. I learned that the education center in the Mityana district of Uganda that educates children about the environment and climate change must close due to lack of financial support from the local and international community.
Surely there is a better way to manage funds for developing nations.