Are climate finance contributor countries, multilateral aid agencies and specialized funds using widely accepted best practices in foreign assistance? How is it possible to measure and compare international climate finance contributions when there are as yet no established metrics or agreed definitions of the quality of climate finance? As a subjective metric, quality can mean different things to different stakeholders, while of donor countries, recipients and institutional actors may place quality across a broad spectrum of objectives. This subjectivity makes the assessment of the quality of climate finance contributions a useful and necessary exercise, but one that has many challenges.
This work seeks to enhance the development of common definitions and metrics of the quality of climate finance, to understand what we can about those areas where climate finance information is available and shine a light on the areas where there is a severe dearth of data. Allowing for comparisons of the use of best practices across funding institutions in the climate sector could begin a process of benchmarking performance, fostering learning across institutions and driving improvements when incorporated in internal evaluation protocols of those institutions. In the medium term, this kind of benchmarking and transparency could support fundraising in contributor countries and help build trust with recipient countries.
As a feasibility study, this paper attempts to outline the importance of assessing international climate finance contributions while describing the difficulties in arriving at universally agreed measurements and indicators for assessment. In many cases, data are neither readily available nor complete, and there is no consensus on what should be included. A number of indicators are proposed in this study as a starting point with which to analyze voluntary contributions, but in some cases their methodologies are not complete, and further research is required for a robust measurement tool to be created.