Climate Change and Corruption report

Farzana Nawaz, Festus Mogae, David Nussbaum, Hartwig Schafer, Fiona Harvey, Daphne Wysham, Jacob Werksman, Paul Watchman, 13th IACC, Plenary report, Climate Change


Title of Plenary

Climate Change and Corruption

Moderator (Name and Institution)

Fiona Harvey, Financial Times

Rapporteur (Name and Institution)

Farzana Nawaz, Transparency International

Panellists(Name, institution, title)

  • Festus Mogae, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, Former President of Botswana
  • Daphne Wysham, Senior fellow, Instituteof Policy Studiesand SEEN
  • Paul Watchman, Dewey & Le Boeuf, Partner
  • Hartwig Schafer, the World Bank, Director, Strategy and Operations, Sustainable Development
  • David Nussbaum, WWF UK, Chief Executive
  • Jacob Werksman, World Resources Institute, Programme Director

Main Issues Covered

  • All the panellists agreed that climate change is the most important development issue. As natural resources become scarcer, there will be more pressure to protect these resources.
  • Protecting the rights and ensuring the participation in governance by indigenous people and the poor is of crucial importance because they are most affected by climate change.
  • Considerations of combating climate change need to take into account the energy needs of poor countries.
  • We need to ensure greater disclosure of information by governments, businesses and civil society on both local and global levels to enable effective monitoring.
  • Good governance can help to combat deforestation and corruption in carbon markets. 
  • It’s time for the anti-corruption and environmental movements to work together.

Plenary Highlights (including interesting quotes)

  • His Excellency, Festus Mogae, stated that climate change ultimately effects the poverty situation, especially in African countries where a large portion of the population still lacks access to power.
  • There needs to be a convergence of efforts to deal with climate change. The UNFCCC and UNCAC need to be brought together to deal with these issues.
  • Mr. Jacob Werksman mentioned that sustainable forest management is an area where there are great opportunities for and impact of corruption. There is a rich body of laws already in place to regulate this area, but so far, these have seen very limited success - the rate of deforestation is increasing and corruption has played a very significant role in the failure.
  • He also stated that the problem of illegal logging cannot be separated from that of carbon markets. We need to ensure that good governance structures are built into carbon markets, which in turn requires increased capacity in civil society to monitor. Many civil society groups, such as the WRI and TI have started to take an active interest in this area.  
  • Mr. David Nussbaum of WWF-UK focused on the financial flows in the carbon markets. He stated that there are three areas in which monitoring is crucial – in the raising of funds, in the management of funds and in the spending of the funds. Auctions of carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) give rise to opportunities of corruption in raising the funds.
  • Corruption in the management and spending of the funds has the potential to give rise to a resource curse in forest-rich countries, similar to that of mining, oil and gas. The anti-corruption community has a wealth of experience which can help reduce corruption in the management and spending of funds. Good use can be made here of civil society’s experience with UNCAC.
  • Ms. Daphne Wysham provided a brief assessment of the World Bank’s role in dealing with climate change in their programs and policies. She stressed that time is critical in dealing with the problems of climate change and criticized the Bank for not only taking deficient measures but also creating opportunities for increasing green house gas emissions in areas such as carbon markets.
  • Mr. Hartwig Schafer of the World Bank on the other hand stressed recent measures taken by the Bank to lower emissions and increase investment in renewable energy. He mentioned that climate change has the largest impact on the poorest in the world; these are also the people most vulnerable to corruption. He emphasized the need for transparency and accountability processes on both local and global levels. Community development projects that increase governance by local communities is an example of processes that can help combat corruption. He mentioned the efforts of the Bank to mainstream governance and anti-corruption measures into all their project designs which will be greatly beneficial in the area of climate change.
  • Paul Watchman stressed that we should not underestimate the power of voluntary principles to regulate the private sector. He mentioned investment as a method which has been used to regulate private corporations. Corporate governance and human rights need to be included in discussions of climate change.
  • In the question period it was mentioned that we need to not only look at illegal logging but also abuse of logging rights by foreign companies who have been granted legal concessions.
  • The point was raised that western consumers have interest in maintaining their current level of energy consumption which has grave implications for people in developing nations.
  • Full disclosure and transparency of information is needed not only from governments, but also from businesses and civil society.
  • Concern was expressed about the bank’s approach to carbon markets which enables or allows the convergence of interests - of the west to maintain their energy intensive lifestyle by cheaply buying the right to pollute and the developing countries’ interest in gaining access to revenues.
  • His excellency, Festus Mogae, offered that in order for climate change measures to be effective it is necessary to convince governments that the proposed changes will be beneficial to them.
  • The energy needs of the poorest need to be prioritized in discussions of climate change.


Farzana Nawaz, November 1st, 2008 __________________________________________________________________________

docClimate Change and Corruption report

Brazil 2012

Brazil 2012

IACC Video

IACC Video