Thu 9 Dec 21
India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka will not effectively implement national climate change policy without major infrastructure improvements at a local level, according to a new study.
Research by Essex Business School explored the extent to which governments in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka prioritise public investment policies and climate change related challenges in the allocation of funds and investments in climate change reduction are carried out locally.
The report, Integrating climate change and livelihood within public investment policies: A cross-country assessment in South Asia (India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) outlines several issues to be addressed.
The research reveals that all three countries (India, Nepal and Sri Lanka) have set clear climate change policies and priorities at national government level. However, the findings show that the gap between these and the level of local implementation seems to be widening.
Also, the voices of local communities and vulnerable groups are largely unheard in the process of developing policies and setting priorities.
The report suggests that the first priority is to strengthen the ability of Governments, both national and local, to ensure available funds are channelled into programmes working to minimise climate change.
Second, a wider range of investments is needed, not just targeting physical capital but also mobilising the available human, social, and knowledge capital. This effort would help to align public investments in climate change with community interests and livelihood strategies.
Third, budgets and public financial management systems are important for the effective allocation of resources and delivery of priorities and investments to address climate change at the grassroots level. However, such allocations will only be made if relevant policies are developed in tandem with local communities, and those with the power to allocate those resources are motivated to allocate them to climate policies.
The report urges Governments to consider “climate-smart spending” as a policy area and to set up mechanisms to ensure that centrally allocated climate change budgets reach the grassroots level. Since most of the population in these three countries depends on agriculture for survival, sustainable agriculture should also be prioritised for future public investments. Regarding access to climate finance, there is potential in the region to tap into private sector investment for climate change-related areas. However, appropriate measures should be put in place to scrutinise the reporting, performance evaluation, and monitoring of climate change-related budgets and investments. Public investments in climate change should also prioritise promoting education and knowledge creation. Integrating climate change in the higher education curriculum would empower the next generation necessary knowledge and confidence to deal with climate change.
Dr Bedanand Upadhaya, from the Centre for Accountability and Global Development at Essex Business School, one of the authors of the report said: “Appropriate measures are needed to scrutinise the reporting, performance evaluation, and monitoring of climate change related budgeting and investment. India, Nepal and Sri Lanka have the potential to encourage private sector investment and promote public private partnerships. Making climate change a part of the higher education curriculum is critical.”
The report is published by the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) programme as part of the PEFA Research Paper Series. PEFA was initiated in 2001 by seven international development partners: The European Commission, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the governments of France, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.