The international community has fundamentally failed to put in place at sufficient scale either the financing or the delivery mechanisms needed to strengthen the resilience and enhance the adaptation capabilities of vulnerable people. As a result, government and household budgets in the poorest countries have been left to foot the bill for a threat that originates principally in richer countries. Drawing on ODI-led research from three countries in sub-Saharan Africa, this paper highlights the significant public expenditure on adaptation that is taking place through national budgets. This expenditure represents a considerable burden on a limited revenue base.
Arising from this research, a new approach to supporting national action on climate change is proposed. Under this approach, public climate finance from the international community would, at a minimum, match the level of domestic public spending relevant to climate change in those countries acknowledged to be the most vulnerable.