Climate aid makes up 2% of aid to Malawi

Despite climate change being a challenge to Malawi, little aid is trickling in to the country to address its adverse effects.

The Strauss Centre’s Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) programme on August 8 released the first-ever dataset tracking all climate aid activities in a single country, Malawi. CCAPS researchers “climate-coded” over 700 projects in Malawi and found that climate aid, narrowly defined, makes up just one to two percent of aid to Malawi.

Climate change is a threat to sustainable economic growth in Malawi. It remains a top government agenda although observers have questioned meagre resources allocated to the sector.

It has also had an adverse impact on agriculture, energy, human health, water, forestry, wildlife, gender and infrastructure.

In the pilot study, CCAPS researchers applied their new “climate-coding” methodology to all official development aid projects in Malawi’s Aid Management Platform, assessing each project activity for its relevance to climate change adaptation.

The resulting database reveals how much of Malawi’s current aid portfolio represents funding allocated specifically for climate-oriented development.

It also reveals how much of Malawi’s aid is not explicitly climate-related, comprising development projects that could have varied degrees of positive or negative impacts on climate change adaptation.

“Our goal is to generate more timely, detailed and useful information on climate finance to Africa to better understand where resources are being effectively mobilised to address the continent’s vulnerability to climate change,” said Dr. Catherine Weaver, a lead researcher on the CCAPS programme.

Norway, the World Bank, USAid, and the European Union are among the donors most involved in adaptation aid in Malawi. Japan and Ireland have several adaptation-related projects, yet their financial contributions are much smaller, reads an abstract of the report.

The new dataset opens the door for detailed comparative analysis of adaptation programmes and their effectiveness in targeting specific climate risks within a country.

Through a collaboration between CCAPS, AidData, and the Government of Malawi, the data were also geo-coded, allowing analysts to assess the aid allocation visually as well.

Funded by the US Department of Defence’s Minerva Initiative, the Strauss Centre’s programme on Climate Change and African Political Stability aims to assess where and how climate change poses threats to stability in Africa, develop strategies to build government capacity to respond, and evaluate the effectiveness of foreign aid for climate change adaptation.

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