UK Climate ‘Consultants’ Charge Third World Countries $2,000 A Day On Poverty Programs

Chris White | Energy Reporter

More than 10 percent of U.K. government climate aid for third world countries is channeled through private consultants who charge exorbitant fees to deliver programs intended to reduce staggering poverty.

The Department for International Development (DFID) administered most of the U.K.’s $12 billion in international climate finance between April 2011 and June 2018, according to a report Wednesday from Climate Home News. The program is designed to help stabilize poverty in Africa and elsewhere through helping countries adapt to global warming.

A consultant typically charges roughly $2,000 a day, according to a former tax consultant with Deloitte. “They wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t a profit to be made,” the consultant told reporters at Climate Home News. Deloitte has received $310,000 from DFID since April 2011. (RELATED: An Obama-Era Climate Order Trump Didn’t Rescind Could Be A Boon For Enviros)

DFID uses contractors because they “play an important role in development work when they deliver well. They provide specialist expertise, flexibility and deliver U.K. aid’s life-changing work in some of the most fragile and dangerous places in the world,” a department official told reporters at CHN. Reliance on consultants is due to public spending cuts and raised concerns about funneling aid money back into rich countries, the report noted.

“A significant amount comes through the provision of the consultants, who are very expensive, so the money remains in the developed country,” Saleemul Huq, a senior climate change fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, told reporters. “Consultancies themselves are not bad, it’s about how they are used and what they are used for.”

Recent reports suggest DFID is not effective at administering international programs. A report from the Times of London in 2016, for instance, accused DFID of lacking the systems to properly assess the performance of consultants. The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) receives DFID funding to support a program of in-country advisers who direct funding within the countries.

“I don’t know another aid agency that as carefully and as quantitatively goes through all the agreements and scores the performance of contractors,” Frank Rijsberman, director general of GGGI, told reporters before noting the outcome of these checks was clearly linked to future funding. The U.S. has yanked money in 2018 from the Green Climate Fund, a program designed to help poor countries abide by elements of the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump eventually left the Paris Agreement in June 2017, arguing that the 179-member pact was poorly negotiated, hurt American manufacturers and decimated coal country. The Clean Power Plan was inextricably tied to the accord and was designed to keep the U.S.’ pledge under the pact. Lost in the administration’s break-neck pace is one order that could allow future presidents to reanimate aspects of the Paris deal.

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