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At a Glance | Tracking Climate Finance in Africa: Political and Technical Insights on Building Sustainable Digital Public Goods

June 24, 2024 Data Management Systems and MEL, Global Data Policy
Tom Orrell, DG Comms
Aid Effectiveness & Management, Data Use

Development Gateway: An IREX Venture’s (DG’s) “At a Glance” series explores the highlights in DG’s white papers and other publications. In this installment of the series, we explore the white paper titled “Tracking Climate Finance in Africa: Political and Technical Insights on Building Sustainable Digital  Public Goods,” which was written by Dr. Catherine Weaver from the University of Texas at Austin and Tom Orrell, previously of DataReady and now a Deputy Director of Programs at DG. Weaver and Orrell explore the importance of climate finance tracking (CFT), common barriers to establishing climate finance tracking systems, and five insights on developing climate finance tracking systems.  

What is Climate Finance and a Climate Finance Tracking system? 

In order to combat the effects of climate change, financing is needed to fund effective climate fighting strategies, including funding to develop tools, programming, etc. that aim to equip governments and communities to predict, prevent, and address the needs provoked by climate change. Overall, climate finance is funding aimed at not only bringing the world closer to compliance with such climate policy as the 2015 Paris Agreement but is also aimed at protecting individuals and communities who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A climate finance tracking system is the planned process(es) and infrastructure supporting the tracking and monitoring of climate financing so that its impact can be tracked, analyzed, and (when appropriate) advanced or duplicated. 

The first barrier to climate finance and creating a climate finance tracking system is that the definition of climate finance is often subject to debate because of politically motivated contestation and ambiguity over what activities are directly or indirectly motivated by climate change concerns. Therefore, the first step in establishing a climate finance tracking system is arriving at a consensus amongst stakeholders (including countries, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society) on what counts as climate change activity.   

Once a common definition of climate change activity—and therefore, what constitutes climate finance—is established, a climate finance tracking system is needed in order to ensure climate finance is appropriately utilized and to track impact. While the specifics of what a climate finance tracking system looks like depends on the context in which it’s established, such a system can include tools like DG’s Aid Management Platform, an open-source tool that facilitates the monitoring of development activities in order to enhance aid effectiveness by allowing stakeholders to track activities from planning to implementation, and GIZ’s TruBudget, a collaborative and secured platform to track and coordinate the implementation of donor-funded investment projects. (Learn more about these tools and climate finance here.)

However, in order for any tools in a climate finance tracking system to be effective, the context in which the system is being established will ideally have many components, including digital infrastructure, human and computational capacity, data and accounting literacy, and complementary institutions and policies to ensure climate data is usable and useful for decision-making. Therefore, significant resources are needed in order for a climate finance tracking system to be effectively implemented. Here is an overview of five insights DG has identified on how best to create a climate finance tracking system.   

Five Insights in Developing a Climate Finance Tracking System
  1. Creating a climate finance tracking system is not only a technical endeavor but also a political one. Any type of data, including climate finance data, is inherently political. Therefore, in order to build a viable and sustainable climate finance tracking system, stakeholders must first and foremost approach this as a political task. 
  2. Building a climate finance tracking system will involve reaching consensus on how to standardize  definitions, measurements, methods of reporting, and other data requirements. In the instance of climate finance tracking, the list of stakeholders to be included in this endeavor is long, as public, private and civil society stakeholders may express different needs and preferences when it comes to tracking and reporting data.
  3. Building a climate finance tracking system at the national level requires (a) a concerted investment of time and resources to create accessible and usable technical systems that capture critical information as well as (b) the human capacity and (c) political willingness to sustain it. 
  4. Ensure different budgetary tools are interoperable (i.e., data can be shared seamlessly between systems) in order to avoid data silos and to facilitate the exchange of information between aid, procurement, budget, and other data systems in the climate finance tracking system. 
  5. Creating climate finance tracking systems requires planning from the subnational to the transnational levels. Subnational political will and capacity will have to be carefully cultivated as this is where most money is spent. At the national level, efforts to build robust climate finance tracking systems will also need to coordinate with efforts at transnational levels, especially to empower the tracking of regional resources and spillover effects of national programs.

Dive deeper into these insights and learn more about climate finance tracking and climate finance tracking systems in the white paper.

Explore our white papers

Evidence-Informed Policymaking: Education Data-Driven Decision Mapping in Kenya and Senegal

Between December 2022 and February 2024, Development Gateway: An IREX Venture (DG) and IREX, funded by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, conducted research in Kenya and Senegal to explore the complexities of education data supply, access, and decision-making processes. Effective decision-making in education relies on reliable, comparable, and accessible data managed through efficient information systems, facilitating resource optimization and goal monitoring. However, many countries, including Kenya and Senegal, experience challenges with unreliable education data, limited data utilization for decision-making, and insufficient national capacity to manage and leverage data effectively. The research, employing DG's Custom Assessment and Landscape Methodology (CALM), involved a desk review, stakeholder consultations, interviews, and validation workshops. Rather than an evaluation or comprehensive diagnostic, the study aimed to gather diverse perspectives and stories from stakeholders to contribute to ongoing discussions, technical investments, and reform efforts. We present key findings in Kenya and Senegal, before comparing and identifying shared characteristics that may be useful to assess in other country contexts.

Élaboration De Politiques Fondées Sur Des Données Probantes: Élaboration De Politiques Fondées Sur Des Données Probantes

Entre décembre 2022 et février 2024, Development Gateway : an IREX Venture (DG) et IREX, avec le financement de la Fondation William & Flora Hewlett, ont mené des recherches au Kenya et au Sénégal pour étudier la complexité des mécanismes de fourniture des données sur l'éducation, l'accès aux données et les processus de prise de décision. Une prise de décision efficace dans le domaine de l'éducation repose sur des données fiables, comparables et accessibles, gérées par des systèmes d'information tout aussi efficaces, facilitant ainsi l'optimisation des ressources et le suivi des objectifs. Cependant, de nombreux pays, dont le Kenya et le Sénégal, sont confrontés à des défis liés au manque de fiabilité des données sur l'éducation, à une utilisation limitée des données dans la prise de décision et à la faiblesse de la capacité nationale à gérer et à exploiter les données de manière efficace. Cette étude, qui utilise la méthodologie CALM (Custom Assessment and Landscape Methodology) de DG, comprend un examen documentaire, des consultations avec les parties prenantes, des entretiens et des ateliers de validation. Plutôt que de réaliser une évaluation ou un diagnostic complet, l'étude visait à recueillir des points de vue et des récits diversifiés auprès des parties prenantes afin de contribuer aux discussions en cours, aux investissements techniques et aux réformes entreprises. Nous présentons les principaux résultats obtenus au Kenya et au Sénégal avant de comparer et d'identifier les caractéristiques communes qui pourraient s’avérer utiles d'évaluer dans d'autres contextes nationaux.

Tracking Climate Finance in Africa: Political and Technical Insights on Building Sustainable Digital Public Goods

In this new white paper, we explore the importance of climate finance tracking (CFT), common barriers to establishing climate finance tracking systems, and five insights on developing climate finance tracking systems.