Climate change can be said to be the biggest challenge ever faced globally. What makes it worse is that the least contributors to climate change are the most affected and to crown it all, corruption is a threat to financing measures to combat and adapt to the rapidly changing climate.
According to Transparency International, some estimates have it that a total of $700 billion in investments will be needed to offset the effects of climate change. Most of these will flow through new uncoordinated channels and this presently in Nigeria does not sound good as there are loopholes in regulations which present a high risk of corrupt people taking undue advantage of the funds.
The World Economic Forum recorded that $5.7 trillion will be needed annually as investment in green infrastructure by 2020 and the developed countries have committed to raising $100 billion annually under different climate funds. It is rather unfortunate that asides from the funds been inadequate, corruption is also a threat. The Green Climate Fund which is the largest fund has only about $10.3 billion raised as at December 2016.
Currently, the African Development Bank (AfDB) remains the premier institution for mobilizing resources for African economic and social development. The AfDB supports African countries’ access to the climate finance they need to move towards climate-smart sustainability. According to AfDB, This commitment underpins its 2013-2022 strategy to promote inclusive and green growth in Africa.
It is evident from the currently insufficient funds that the developed countries need to do more. However, developing countries need to start looking inwards to generate climate funds. It is unsafe to depend solely on external funds at a critical time like this and this is where the need to combat corrupt practices come in to play. Without combatting corruption adequately, even if the external funds are adequately provided, they will end up in the wrong pockets and the situation becomes worse off.
The current state of affairs in Nigeria is a result of corrupt governance. A lot of people are overpaid for services not even rendered. Overblown salaries can be cut down and diverted towards combatting climate change. Tax evasion and over-inflated projects are not sustainable and there is a need for the government to start seeing them in that light. A lot of structures get erected on water ways without impact assessments carried out. An example is the stalled Ilubirin project in Lagos.
Corruption will continue to be an obstacle to sustainable development.
Recipient countries of climate funds need to ensure that once funds are received, they will be used efficiently and effectively in order to achieve the imperative for transforming the world. Deficits in transparency, accountability and integrity that have fuelled corruption need to be seriously addressed.
This is a clarion call for Nigeria to fully take charge of addressing her corruption and climate challenges and develop a proactive masterplan towards achieving sustainable development. We and leaders inclusive need to be equipped with the will to serve to ensure that the people who need the funds most get them.