Special Issue "Adapting to Climate Change: The Interplay between International and Domestic Institutions in the Context of Climate Finance"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Axel Marx
Website
Guest Editor
Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Interests: voluntary sustainability standards; labour rights; global governance; governance through trade and regulatory governance
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Climate change is of crucial significance to all countries around the globe. The South is however particularly affected since they are highly vulnerable to climate impacts while not emitting many greenhouse gases (so far). Historically, they have not contributed to causing the problem but they are greatly affected by its consequences. Indeed, climate change creates multiple inequalities. Developed states are to a large degree responsible for climate change, but are forecast to confront only moderate adverse effects and are better equipped and able to adapt. Middle income or least developed states are not culpable and yet experience significant threats to livelihoods, assets and security.

The UNFCCC Paris Agreement on climate change, signed in 2016, for the first time commits all nations to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist the South to do so. The Paris Agreement and the rulebook, agreed at COP24 in Katowice, include transitional mechanisms and support for developing countries, reflecting the differentiation among low and mid-income countries (in particular between the LSD and emerging economies). This special issue will discuss the commitments and challenges for implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement for developing countries. It will specifically focus on financial instruments which facilitate climate change mitigation and adaptation.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition that enhancing the effectiveness and the distributive fairness of international climate finance to developing countries will depend not only on the greater availability of a variety of financing resources (e.g. multilateral, bilateral, public, private), but increasingly as well, on the capacities of recipient countries and especially the most vulnerable ones, to absorb, manage, and implement financial support. Unlike developed countries, which in general have the internal capacities to use and generate climate finance, developing countries and especially least developed countries (LCDs) and middle-income countries (MICs), often lack the necessary institutional, policy, and skills systems to access, manage and use climate finance effectively. Yet, early experiences with the mobilisation and channeling of international climate financial flows to developing countries shows that a lack of robust and lasting capacities at national and local levels can not only delay but also seriously compromise the funding and implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. The setting up of adequate policy and institutional frameworks is also central to improving national ownership over the use of climate funds and can, over the long run, further strengthen the capacity of recipient countries to access a wider and more varied range of financial resources.  Hence, whilst some progress has been made in recent years, especially with regard to the establishment in some developing countries of national institutions specifically dedicated to managing climate funds, greater interests and efforts on the part of both developed and developing countries should be devoted to improving recipient countries’ national climate finance readiness, i.e. their capacity to plan for, access, allocate, deliver and make use of climate finance resources, both domestic and international, as well as monitor, track, and report of its use and results (UNDP, 2012, p. 4). In so doing, it is important to gain a better understanding of the drivers and limitations of climate finance readiness development, especially within the context of those recipient countries that have in recent years demonstrated substantial efforts towards strengthening capacities to access international climate funds. 

The aim of the call for papers is to discuss the current state of play on national climate finance readiness from the perspective of developing countries and assess the challenges and opportunities for domestic institutions to link up with global (finance) institutions.

We welcome proposals from academics, practitioners and advanced doctoral students. In particular, we strongly encourage submissions from developing countires. The deadline for submitting proposals is 9th October 2019. Your proposal should include the following details:

  • Full Name
  • Organisation
  • Position
  • Email Address
  • Paper Title (max. 160 characters)
  • Abstract (max. 500 words)
  • Name of any co-authors

Proposals should be send to Dr. Axel Marx – [email protected]

The authors of the accepted proposals will be invited to a workshop on 11 December at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven where drafts of the papers will be discussed. Full papers will be considered for a special issue of the journal Sustainability.

Limited funding for participants to the workshop will be available, in particular for participants from developing countries. This event is part of the workshop series organised in the context of the Global Minds programme of KU Leuven.

Important dates:
Deadline for paper proposals: 9th October 2019
Workshop Leuven: 11th December 2019
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2020

Dr. Axel Marx
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Understanding Adaptation Finance Allocation: Which Factors Enable or Constrain Vulnerable Countries to Access Funding?
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104308 - 25 May 2020
Abstract
The most vulnerable countries often face a double burden in relation to climate change—they are at high risk to the impacts and are least equipped to cope and adapt. Global climate policy since the Convention in 1992, until most recently with the global [...] Read more.
The most vulnerable countries often face a double burden in relation to climate change—they are at high risk to the impacts and are least equipped to cope and adapt. Global climate policy since the Convention in 1992, until most recently with the global goal on adaptation in the Paris Agreement, has manifested the importance of prioritizing adaptation support to the most vulnerable countries. The main objective of this study is to understand the enabling and constraining factors that play a role in the process of allocating and accessing global adaptation assistance. We adopted a mixed-methods approach combining two major streams of analysis. First, this paper aims to track bilateral adaptation finance to all so-called developing countries, as bilateral support has been the largest share of international adaptation finance. Second, the paper draws on semi-structured expert interviews and looks at the country level to identify the factors beyond vulnerability that play a role in the distribution of adaptation finance from a recipient’s and a donor’s perspective, using India and Germany as examples. The analysis yields three main findings. First, countries’ vulnerability as measured by standard metrics does not seem to be the prime factor explaining the distribution of available bilateral adaptation assistance. This is in contrast to the political narrative in the emerging climate finance architecture. Second, interview data identified other factors beyond vulnerability that play a role from a donor perspective, such as the perceived capacity to manage and implement projects, the commitment given to climate change and other political priorities. Third, from a recipient perspective, rather than its vulnerability level in a global comparison, strong institutional capacity played a prominent role in attracting adaptation finance. Looking out into the future, the findings underscore the practical and political challenges in relation to a vulnerability-oriented prioritization of funding and they point towards the need to increase countries’ capacities to attract and manage international adaptation support. The findings also raise questions on how to overcome the vexing conflict in the emerging adaptation finance architecture between accommodating for donors’ requirements of high fiduciary standards and enabling access by the most vulnerable countries, which are often short of resources and institutional capacities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptation, Official Development Assistance, and Institution Building: The Case of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4269; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104269 - 22 May 2020
Abstract
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre was launched in 2005, culminating a process that included three precursor projects: Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change (1997–2001); Adapting to Climate Change in the Caribbean (2001–2004); and Mainstreaming Climate Change (2003–2009). Each benefited from multiple [...] Read more.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre was launched in 2005, culminating a process that included three precursor projects: Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change (1997–2001); Adapting to Climate Change in the Caribbean (2001–2004); and Mainstreaming Climate Change (2003–2009). Each benefited from multiple sources of official development assistance (ODA), clearly defined tasks, and leadership from the region’s scientific and technical communities. Shared goals and principles across the projects included: use of bottom-up participatory methods; building the technical capacity of national and regional institutions; mainstreaming adaptation in economic development programs; and partnering with governmental, non-governmental, and private sector organizations. This article applies concepts from the global environmental politics literature on interplay, environmental policy integration, and regional governance to trace the institutionalization of the Centre. Fifteen semi-structured interviews and reviews of project documents reveal how the Centre built capacity to plan and manage projects, act as a regional hub for technical support and data, participate in the multi-level political interplay required to secure ODA, while exploring other funding sources; and the extent to which it has been able to maintain its commitment to bottom-up, participatory methods, effective internal and external communications, social assessment, and monitoring and evaluation of projects. Full article
Open AccessArticle
New Power Structures and Shifted Governance Agendas Disrupting Climate Change Adaptation Developments in Kenya and Uganda
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2799; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072799 - 01 Apr 2020
Abstract
Kenya and Uganda are currently two of the fastest growing countries in the East African Community. The political leaderships’ prioritization of sociopolitical and economic development, combined with the wish for a closer integration into the world market, shifted the countries’ governance structures and [...] Read more.
Kenya and Uganda are currently two of the fastest growing countries in the East African Community. The political leaderships’ prioritization of sociopolitical and economic development, combined with the wish for a closer integration into the world market, shifted the countries’ governance structures and agenda setting. Undertaken economic projects, including oil explorations, mining and gold extractions, flower farming and intense rice growing, put conservation areas at great risk and led to a decrease of the country’s wetland and forest cover. Accordingly, the impact of climate change on the vulnerability of countries is increasing. The paper critically investigates how particularly recent economic investments by national and international companies question the coherence between the institutional framework on climate policies, especially on a sub-national level of decision-making. Based on two field visits to the area, this paper raises the question of how the institutional frameworks shape climate governance processes in Kenya and Uganda. Looking at both political and climate governance structures from a pragmatic perspective, this paper concludes that the insufficient implementation of existing governance structures hampers the better integration of climate policies. National actors do not consider climate financing as an important issue which results in the fragmentation and undermining of climate policy processes. Full article
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