Photo: Pranab Basak, WIN photo competition 2020

Corruption threatens to derail climate action. A preventive integrity approach must be built in from project start

A look at maladaptation and its link to poor water integrity and corruption

“There is strengthened evidence that the global water cycle will continue to intensify as global temperatures rise, with precipitation and surface water flows projected to become more variable over most land regions within seasons”
IPCC 6th Assessment Report Climate Change 2021

The climate crisis is already significantly impacting the health, social and environmental dynamics of millions of people. The most vulnerable communities, and coastal and rural populations in developing countries as well as those affected by conflict, are unjustly bearing the harshest burden. Without significant investment in adaptation, the consequences will be dire. This means we must ensure new climate funds go where they are intended and most needed. In turn, this means integrity is essential.

The water and sanitation sectors are currently the primary beneficiaries of climate funds for adaptation. However , these sectors are already fragmented and complex in terms of governance. The influx of funds from new sources and stakeholders creates new opportunities for corruption and important integrity risks. Over 40 percent of all climate-related overseas development assistance is received by initiatives in countries among the riskiest places in the world for corruption (U4 Brief 2020:14).

An integrity approach is key to ensure adaptation processes stay on track. An integrity approach is also essential to limit maladaptation, an emerging concern largely driven by corruption and integrity failures in climate adaptation.

Maladaptation heightens expected climate-related risks instead of lowering them, or creates new sets of risks.

This new brief, developed with the Green Climate Fund – Independent Integrity Unit,

  • Examines how corruption and integrity failures may heighten the risk of maladaptation.
  • Highlights the importance of adopting preventive integrity measures to reduce the risks of maladaptation.
  • Encourages further research and discussion on the relationship between maladaptation and corruption.

Download and read here:


See more, including a video here on what maladaptation is and what the links are with integrity

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