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Protecting climate finance: An anti-corruption assessment of the Adaptation Fund

This reports analyses the policies and practices that the Adaptation Fund has to prevent corruption and enable accountability, aiming to contribute to the positive development and strengthening of the Fund to support effective achievement of its objectives.


Elges, L., C. Martin, H. van Asselt, A. Atteridge, M. Benzie, M., Å. Persson, and E. Remling (2014). Protecting climate finance: An anti-corruption assessment of the Adaptation Fund. Transparency International report.

The Adaptation Fund aims to support adaptation projects in developing countries that are “particularly vulnerable” to climate change. It is the first global fund that allows countries to directly receive grant finance without having to go through intermediaries. As of December 2013, it had approved 184 million for climate resilience projects.

Regarding transparency, the fund publishes accurate, comprehensive, clear, coherent and timely information on its executive functions, projects and programmes, and it publishes its climate finance information as part of the International Aid Transparency Initiative. The webcasting of its open Board meetings has been an important advance.

Still, information regarding anti-corruption rules and safeguards of downstream actors should be disclosed and easily accessible on the fund’s website. Further, transparency of the board and committees can be bolstered by a more consistent and less discretionary approach to closed meetings.

Regarding accountability at the fund level, clear and comprehensive processes ensure the investigation and sanctioning of the fund’s Secretariat and Trustee. However, further rules and procedures regarding board and board member behavior are needed. Project-level accountability is delegated to implementing entities. The effectiveness of this is difficult to assess given the scant availability of information.

Citizens play a key role in preventing corruption. Fund policies are advanced regarding participation. However, participation can be strengthened to enable more open, meaningful engagement, and better uptake of concerns.

Finally, the fund progressively sets fiduciary standards for implementing entities. These seek to ensure a comprehensive corruption prevention approach. Requirements should, however, be broadened to a fund-wide zero-tolerance of corruption policy.

Read the report (external link to Transparency International)

SEI authors

Åsa Persson
Åsa Persson

Research Director and Deputy Director

SEI Headquarters

Aaron Atteridge
Aaron Atteridge

SEI Affiliated Researcher

SEI Asia

Profile picture of Magnus Benzie
Magnus Benzie

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Oxford

Profile picture of Harro van Asselt
Harro van Asselt

SEI Affiliated Researcher


Topics and subtopics
Climate : Adaptation, Finance

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