PARIS-Rich countries have over-reported finance to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change by $20 billion over the last decade, leaving at-risk communities drastically underfunded, a new analysis showed on Thursday.

Under the 2015 Paris climate accord, countries are required to boost funding to hard-hit governments, evenly split between cash to mitigate global warming and to help them adapt to future climate impacts.

Developed countries promised to provide $50 billion in annual finance for adaptation by 2020. But official OECD figures show that in 2018 donors committed just $16.8 billion.

The true figure, according to an analysis by green group CARE International, is in fact far lower at just $9.7 billion.

CARE and its partner organizations in Africa and Southeast Asia assessed 112 climate adaptation projects funded by 25 donor nations equivalent to 13 percent of total global adaptation finance between 2013-17.

They found the funding for adaption in these projects had been over reported by 42 percent. Applying that figure to remaining projects, CARE said that adaptation finance had been over-reported by $20 billion during the same period.

It said several countries had overblown their adaptation grants by including finance for construction projects such as housing and roads not related to the climate at all.

“The world’s poorest people are not responsible for the climate crisis yet are hardest hit,” said John Nordbo of CARE Denmark.

The assessment showed that Japan over-reported its climate adaptation finance by more than $1.3 billion, including more than $400 million on projects such as a “Friendship Bridge” and an expressway in Vietnam.

Loans, not outright grants

CARE also raised concern many development projects ostensibly meant to help climate-vulnerable states adapt were financed in the form of loans rather than outright grants.

In projects assessed in Ghana and Ethiopia, for example, 28 percent and 50 percent of total contributions respectively were provided as loans, the analysis found.

The report called on donors to stop over-reporting adaptation finance and increase transparency in finance reporting, as well as ensure that loans do not exacerbate debt distress.

“Given the acute state of our climate crisis, and the devastating impacts being suffered by vulnerable countries, we cannot afford for adaptation finance to be exaggerated or inaccurately reported,” said Sonam Wangdi, chair of the Least Developed Nations bloc at UN climate negotiations.

Agencies via Xinhua

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