Climate Funds Update highlights: May 2017

The biggest news in the last few weeks has been the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. One impact of this withdrawal is uncertainty over the delivery of the remaining $2 billion from the US’s $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).  In response, however, many US state governors, mayors, university presidents, and businesses have reaffirmed their commitment to climate action. Some are in talks to become official parties to the Paris Agreement and submit climate pledges under the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) mechanism for sub-national entities, in a bid to match and continue the commitments that the US government does not fulfil. The outcome of these talks could be a game changer for increasing climate support across the US and mobilising greater private sector involvement.

The Bonn climate talks in May also reaffirmed the need for both public and private sector involvement in achieving global target. Key discussions took place in Bonn around the ‘rulebook’ for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which must be finalised at COP24 in 2018, the Facilitative Dialogue and Global Stock Take processes for monitoring and reporting of climate action, and contention over the Adaptation Fund (AF).

In the wake of these and other key developments in climate action, there have been some interesting movements in climate financing. We have undertaken our May 2017 round of updates to the Climate Funds Update database, which monitors the donations to, and disbursements of financing by the key climate funds. This data can be found on the Climate Funds Update website. In this blog, we’ll summarise the main changes since the last update in November 2016.

The biggest pledges and deposits since November 2016=> money coming from donors to the funds

Only modest additional pledges have been made to climate funds since November 2016. From the funds reported in CFU, the largest increases in pledged amounts have been to the Adaptation Fund (of approximately $70 million) and the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) (of approximately $35 million).

The Adaptation Fund received new contributions of $2.9 million from the Brussels Capital Region, $6.7 million from Flanders (Belgium) and $58.9 million from Germany (bringing their total contributions to the AF to $4.9 million, $7.8 million and $223.9 million, respectively). The PPCR received an increased funding pledge from the United Kingdom of $37 million (bringing the UK’s total contribution to the PPCR to $525.9 million).

Also of note, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has received a number of small pledges since November 2016: $0.5 million from Cyprus, $4.8 million from Flanders and $10.9 million from Wallonia, two regional governments in Belgium, and $1.3 million from the city of Paris, the first municipal government to make a pledge to the GCF.

Leading project approvals since November 2016=> money going out of the funds

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved the largest amount of new project funding since our last update in November 2016, committing $1,046 across 16 projects. Six of these projects target climate adaptation and six target mitigation, while four cut across both objectives. The largest new project is providing $250 million in equity and $15 million in grant funding towards ‘GEEREF NeXt’, the new phase of the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund. The GEEREF is a fund of funds that seeks to act as an anchor investor for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries, drawing in private investors by allowing them to diversify their risk across multiple projects and technologies. Three further new GCF projects each have over $100 million in approved financing each: the ‘Simiyu Climate Resilient Development Programme’ in Tanzania, ‘Catalyzing Private Investment in Sustainable Energy’ in Argentina, and the ‘Renewable Energy Financing Framework ‘project in Egypt. In the latter two projects, funding primarily consists of concessional loans. The GCF is making use of a greater diversity of financial instruments than has been traditional for climate funds, offering equity and guarantees in addition to grants and concessional loans in an attempt to better address project-specific investment barriers (see infographic 3 on ODI’s 10 things to know about climate finance in 2016).

The Adaptation Fund (AF) has approved $68 million across 35 projects since November 2016. Ten of these projects, averaging $7 million in funding, actively seek to reduce vulnerability and build resilience. The remaining approvals are for $10,000 to $50,000 technical assistance grants under the AF’s Readiness Programme for Climate Finance, which aims to build the capacity of National Implementing Entities (NIEs) to address environmental, social and gender-related risk management (see Adaptation Fund, 2016). The AF has recently approved projects, such as the ‘Integrated approach to physical adaptation and community resilience in Antigua and Barbuda’s northwest McKinnon’s watershed’, which include provisions directed at improving financial and technical access for micro-, small- and medium enterprises (MSMEs). MSMEs are an underserved group with a large potential to undertake adaptation activities; the AF, along with the GCF and a handful of other climate funds are leading the way in increasing the targeting of adaptation activities through this sector.

Since November 2016, funds have approved $389 million for adaptation projects (a 9% cumulative increase), $657 million for mitigation projects (7% increase), $163 million for REDD+ projects (7% increase), and $274 million for multiple foci projects (16% increase) (Fig.1).

Figure 1: Thematic distribution of new project funding since November 2016 (USD millions)

2017 Blog Fig 1

In geographic terms, the Sub-Saharan Africa and the Latin America and the Caribbean regions have attracted the largest amounts of new multilateral climate finance over the last 6 months (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: Geographic distribution of new project funding since November 2016 (USD millions)

2017 Blog Fig 2

Better data can help international forest finance flow

In this blog Marigold Norman of the Overseas Development Institute discusses what improved capacities for producing reliable data on forest cover mean for access to international REDD+ finance.

International REDD+ architecture

International REDD+ architecture

Increasing the transparency of climate-related development finance flows: publishing detail on over 7,000 projects in 2013

Stephanie Ockenden, OECD Development Cooperation Directorate

Climate change and development are intrinsically linked, and external development finance flows have a critical role to play in supporting this transition.  Achieving an efficient and effective allocation of this finance will be critical to support our climate change goals and to ensure the most vulnerable are reached.

Improved statistics on climate-related development finance can support this, through providing information to facilitate greater co-ordination and allocation of finance.  Better data also has a significant role to play given the current “climate politics”.  Climate finance will be one of the critical elements contributing to a new global agreement to tackle climate change.  Whilst climate-related development finance flows are much broader than the UNFCCC USD 100 billion goal, many parties draw in part on these data to meet their commitments.  Robust statistics promote consistency, comparability and transparency, and this in turn will support parties in their monitoring and reporting to the convention to deliver greater accountability and help build trust.

Taking one giant step towards more robust statistics, the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), in collaboration with the MDBs and other international organisations, presents for the first time an integrated picture of bilateral and multilateral external development finance flows targeting climate change objectives in 2013.

In doing so, a significant boost to transparency is achieved by making available on-line a wealth of data, including information on over 7,000 development finance activities, contributing to over USD 37 billion of climate-related development finance in 2013.

Going forward the OECD DAC is working in collaboration with other partners to further improve the quality, coverage, communication and use of these environmental development data.

We invite you to access detailed project-level information and interact with our new 2013 climate-related development finance statistics!

Visit for more information

The coordination of climate finance in India

Vyoma Jha, Centre for Policy Research

The Indian government recently announced the enhancement of solar energy targets under the National Solar Mission to 100 GW by 2019 as compared to the initial aim of 22 GW by 2022, targeting nearly US$100 billion in renewable energy investments over the next five years. It also established a National Adaptation Fund with an initial funding of Rs.100 crore (approximately US$16 million) as budgetary support towards climate change. While this flurry of activity indicates a commitment on part of the government towards low-carbon and climate resilient development, it also establishes a strong case for identifying the existing and future sources of climate finance to support such activities.

Increasing role of ‘climate’ in mainstream policy and investment decisions

Well-defined policies in the solar energy and energy efficiency markets, triggered by national climate policy, have spurred climate related finance through a variety of domestic and international, both public and private, sources. Most significantly, there has been an emergence of major public and private sector banks and development finance institutions in supporting climate mitigation or adaptation related efforts, lending itself to a ‘mainstreaming’ of the climate agenda within national financial actors. However, there still remains a need to engage these diverse sub-national and financial actors in national agenda setting around accessing international funds.

With no formal coordinating mechanism around climate finance in India, multiple processes for financing thrive within the country that can be broadly categorized into two distinct arrangements – one, mobilizing funding labelled climate finance, and two, mainstreaming public finance that has climate benefits. Our latest study on ‘The coordination of climate finance in India’ suggests the national climate finance landscape is highly fragmented with a wealth of stakeholders at the national and sub-national level, in both the public and private sectors playing important roles. The government needs to recognise these roles and engage these stakeholders, in order to develop a clearer sense of opportunities and priorities using both domestic and international finance.

Making good use of international ‘climate finance’

Key findings from India’s past experiences accessing international climate funds suggest that while Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is the obvious choice for making decisions on climate-related activities requiring funding, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is better suited at negotiating large sums of international funding as it is the nodal department for receiving financial assistance from multilateral and bilateral funds. In the context of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), where India continues to play an important role in its operationalization, it is imperative that the two ministries work closely if finance accessed through the GCF is to make its way into domestic efforts on climate in a meaningful way.

One idea that has attracted a lot of interest is the creation of a new National Climate Fund, which could channel international funding. However, India already has a lot of climate funds – for instance, the coal cess-driven National Clean Energy Fund that has done little to scale up investment in clean energy though it is now getting to work; the National Adaptation Fund created during the last national budget – and Indian stakeholders will need to develop a strategy for how best to make use of the available funds to channel new and additional funding through international funds.

Ways forward on coordination around climate finance in India

A concerted strategy needs to emerge around how India could effectively link existing channels of national and international climate finance. One useful immediate step could be for the Climate Change Finance Unit and MoEF to initiate a process of engagement and interaction with other line ministries, state government, banks and businesses to consider options for maximising strategies and optimising the use of international finance from the GCF. This could help the National Designated Authority of the GCF to develop and maintain a steady roster of projects or programmes that would require new or supplemental funding.

The central objective of any national coordination mechanisms around climate finance should be to encourage the incubation of fundable ideas from relevant actors, particularly beyond the core governmental set up, about how to take meaningful domestic actions on climate change. For India, engagement with the GCF presents an opportunity to take much needed steps to better integrate international funding with emerging national development objectives in the context of a climate response.

Climate Finance Fundamentals 2014

Sam Barnard, ODI

The UNFCCC COP20 kicked off this week in Peru. Day by day more negotiators and observers are arriving at ‘el Pentagonito’, the Peruvian army headquarters in Lima where this year’s conference is being held, in the hope of making progress towards the global climate agreement billed to be signed in Paris in November of next year.

Finance is high on the agenda. Developed country governments have agreed to provide resources to support the efforts of developing countries to adopt low-carbon development trajectories and build resilience to climate impacts that are already starting to incur real economic and social costs.

Against this backdrop, ODI and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have released the 2014 edition of the Climate Finance Fundamentals: a series of concise briefs detailing the essentials on the key issues under discussion around climate finance. These include the progress being made towards getting the new Green Climate Fund up and running, trends in finance for mitigation, adaptation and REDD+, as well as regional briefs on how climate finance is flowing to assist countries in different parts of the world to tackle the specific challenges they face. We provide an overview of the architecture for climate finance delivery that has evolved over the past ten years, as well as the crucial need to incorporate gender considerations into climate fund interventions.

So what are the headline stories?

The Green Climate Fund has made big steps this year to becoming fully operational. The official pledging meeting in Berlin last month brought pledges up to $9.3 billion. Additional pledges have also been announced this week, making the GCF the largest multilateral fund in the world. It will now have to demonstrate its ability to use this money effectively by financing a portfolio of impactful projects.

The amounts of finance approved by climate funds for both mitigation and adaptation projects have risen substantially, indicating that the project development cycles of existing funds, and particularly the Climate Investment Funds under the World Bank, are starting to pick up steam. Dedicated adaptation funds and mitigation funds have now approved over $3 billion and $6.6 billion, respectively. Similarly, approvals by funds focusing on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) grew by 65% in the last 12 months to nearly $1.1 billion.

Regional highlights

The largest sums of finance have been approved for projects in Asia and Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. In both of these regions this funding is heavily skewed towards supporting mitigation, primarily through renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Nevertheless, funding for adaptation is growing steadily. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region for which spending by climate funds on adaptation ($1.03 billion) exceeds that on mitigation ($834 million). In contrast to spending on mitigation, this adaptation finance is highly disperse, with the majority flowing through the Least Developed Countries Fund to support 126 projects in the region.

Globally, some particularly vulnerable countries such as Nepal, have received significant resources from dedicated climate funds to increase their resilience, but it will be crucial to ensure that the most vulnerable countries, including the small island developing states (SIDS) are not left behind.

The biggest single approval in the last year was the $238 million concessional loan from the Clean Technology Fund for the Noor II and III Concentrated Solar Power project in Morocco, which is the latest project to be approved under a concerted large-scale solar power investment programme in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Climate Finance Fundamentals draw on data compiled at Climate Funds Update, the leading source of information on the money flowing to and from dedicated climate funds. They can be downloaded in English, Spanish and French at

More than meetings: the way forward on climate finance

Smita Nakhooda, ODI

At the COP 19 in Warsaw, Christiana Figueres sent governments back home with a command: “Governments, and especially developed nations, must go back to do their homework so they can put their plans on the table ahead of the Paris conference”. What exactly does it mean? On finance, it means that developed countries must walk the walk and help developing countries respond to climate change.

Hopes were high at the beginning of 2013 for a “Finance COP”: that when parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change met in Warsaw at the end of this year, they would be able to make new progress on this sticky issue.  With the new year almost upon us, what has happened so far and what is the way forward?

A quick look backwards

Developed countries have always had obligations to provide finance to help developing countries respond to climate change, because developing countries have done less to cause climate change and still confront pressing poverty reduction challenges. In 2010 developed countries agreed to mobilise US$100 billion per year in new and additional finance from public and private sources to support developing countries to respond to climate change. As a demonstration of good faith, they would deliver US$30 billion in Fast Start Finance (FSF) between 2010 and 2012, with a focus on scaling up support for adaptation to help vulnerable developing countries, particularly small island developing states and African nations, deal with the impacts of climate change. Developed countries managed to meet – and indeed to even exceed– these commitments.

Last year’s UNFCCC meetings in Doha did not give countries much clarity on the medium term outlook for finance. A year-long technical work programme on long term finance grappled with the difficult underlying issues, such as the need for developing countries to introduce domestic policy processes to mobilise new sources of finance , as well as the policy, regulatory and institutional conditions that need to be addressed to enable greater private investment in the solutions to climate change.  It highlighted the need for a political dialogue on how to respond to finance needs. The Doha Gateway extended this work program, and also agreed to convene a High Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance. It also confirmed the need to make rapid progress in operationalising the Green Climate Fund.

So what do we have to show for the “Finance COP”?

Several countries did come forward with new pledges of finance at Warsaw. The leadership of European countries on this agenda, despite their significant economic and financial challenges at home, is noteworthy. A number of these countries, particularly Germany, committed US$104 million to the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol, allowing it to meet its rather modest 2013 fundraising target of US$100 million. The UK has been a particularly significant actor: it has created a dedicated mechanism to deliver finance through its International Climate Fund, and has recently increased the amount of finance it will make available from £2.9 billion by 2015 to £3.87 billion by 2016. Together with the US and Norway, it committed US$280million for a new World Bank managed program to promote sustainable forest landscapes, in an effort to attract private investment to activities that reduce emissions from unsustainable land use practices. Japan committed US$16 billion in finance for developed countries in the context of announcing that it would not be able to meet its original GHG emission reduction targets. But this finance, similar to the funding it committed during the FSF period, is expected to be largely delivered as concessional and non-concessional loans. Much of it will help support Japanese companies to do business in climate-relevant sectors. However, while one of its objectives could have been to position climate change as a centrally important issue for Ministries of Finance, the Ministerial was dominated by Ministries of Environment.

The negotiated language on long term finance takes a small step forward by setting an implicit “floor” for public climate finance commitments by “Urg[ing] developed country Parties to maintain continuity of mobilization of public climate finance at increasing levels from the fast-start finance period”. It calls for a “substantial share” of public finance to support adaptation activities. And it “recognise[s]” the commitment to mobilise US$100 billion from public and private sources by 2020 “in the context of meaningful action and transparency”.

The outlook for 2014: a lot of homework to be done (and it will have to be done in capitals)

But it does not offer much more than that, despite repeated calls from developing countries on pathways to scaling up, and the proposal of a mid-term target of $70 billion per year. It does, however, “request” developed countries to prepare biennial submissions on how they will increase support, and to provide any available information on pathways. The Standing Committee on Finance will prepare its first biennial assessment of climate finance flows. Such an effort has the potential to offer some needed clarity on what should “count” as climate finance, and to offer a better sense of the current finance for adaptation and mitigation activities, including from the private sector.

In addition, the COP called for a rapid progress in finalising the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund. The fund has the potential to fill important gaps in the current climate finance architecture, supporting institutions in developing countries to incorporate climate change into their investment and development planning processes, and helping them to harness and direct private investment into low carbon and climate resilient options. The “historic opportunity” that the GCF presents was stressed by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at its launch in Song Do earlier this year.

Finally, parties “decided” to convene a biennial high level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance, informed by the new spree of technical meetings on climate finance that are poised to get underway, starting at COP 20 in Lima. The Climate Summit that the UN Secretary General will be convening in September 2014 may be an important stepping stone in the lead up to COP 20, if governments and actors including business and civil society are able to pledge ambitious action.

But it will take a lot of work, at home in capitals, for next year’s busy calendar of international technical meetings and high level political summits, to yield meaningful results. For Figueres’s wishes to come true, this will require us to convince policy makers and their constituents in developed countries that finance to help developing countries respond to climate change can make a real difference, and can be used effectively to deliver meaningful global benefits.

Who’s ready for climate finance?

Richard Calland (Africa Climate Finance Hub) and Smita Nakhooda (ODI)

Is it a bird or is it a plane? The question of what ‘readiness’ for climate finance involves has attracted a great deal of attention and debate, particularly since the Green Climate Fund is supposed to channel $100 billion a year by 2020 for climate action and policy in developing countries.

Despite various efforts from a number of international bodies such as the UNDP, there is little consensus about the matter. Is it a process or an event? This is a yes or no question: you are either ready or you are not. Either way, how on earth do you measure it (or should you even try to do so)?

There have been inevitable levels of ambivalence from potential recipient countries. They welcome the idea of finance that will put them in a better position to use the funds, given the complexity of accessing climate finance, but they are also wary of more red-tape that will absorb time and effort, and end up looking like ‘conditionality’. If you’re not ‘ready’, you may not be ‘certified’ fit for receiving climate finance.

In an effort both to better understand what climate finance readiness funding might usefully entail and, more importantly, what the needs of potential recipient countries might be, researchers from ODI and the Africa Climate Finance Hub spent a year talking to people in three Southern African countries – Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. We began this work in partnership with GIZ and with support from the German government.

Because every place has unique socio-economic, political and institutional conditions, our starting premise was that any assessment of country readiness should take the ‘3 Rs’ into account:

  • be RELATIVE to a country’s socioeconomic and geopolitical characteristics;
  • be RESPONSIVE to the country’s particular needs, priorities, and challenges – and therefore flexible;
  • be REASONABLE, factoring in key national issues and constraints, and thus identifying the practical steps that can be taken.

All three countries are seasoned recipients of official development assistance (known as ODA), and acutely attuned to the power-play that can quickly subsume conversations about who gets what, when and how. As one finance ministry official put it: ‘we will invest in getting ready for climate finance, but only if we can see that the investment will be worthwhile’. The subtext is: will readiness finance really benefit potential recipients?

From our fieldwork, we gained a number of insights into how readiness finance might cohere with the other efforts that countries are making to address the challenge of climate change.

We considered in-country processes and institutions responsible and necessary for planning for climate change and programming associated finance. We also stressed the importance of what we term ‘aptitude’ – by which we mean more than just the exhausted notion of ‘capacity’, but rather ‘mindset’ and the institutional convictions that are required to really grapple with the tough politics of climate action and its associated political economy. Finally we looked at systems to access and spend climate finance – the sourcing as well as the receipt of climate finance and whether funds are being spent well, in order to achieve intended climate related objectives.

Countries are struggling to align action that is focused directly at climate change with broader national strategies for economic development. The threat posed by climate change may appear less direct, and is certainly more nuanced, but is no less dangerous for long-term prosperity. Readiness support could help countries make better links between “climate” strategies and their development finance plans. For example, readiness support could help governments improve the quality of the data that they need to understand the nature and trajectory of stresses and changes in key economic sectors and the risks these pose for proposed investments.

We found, as many others have, that countries struggle to co-ordinate efforts across departments and agencies. Institutions to support the realisation of climate policies and strategies are emerging, and usually include some formal space for the representation of the various ministries and stakeholders who will need to be involved in implementation. For example, the proposed National Climate Change and Development Council in Zambia will draw together the ministries of environment, finance, infrastructure/public works, mines, energy and water, the Office of the Vice President with its disaster management unit and, most likely, the Zambian Meteorological department, while also engaging civil society and private sector representatives. Similarly the process for developing the Namibian Climate Policy and Strategy has involved consultation with other units of government through a National Climate Change Committee.

But in practice, coordination between activities and within planning processes has been challenging, often lacking sufficient mandate, capacity or incentives. Our studies found that there may be implicit or explicit competition for access to funding, and enhanced political profile. Readiness finance might be used to enable more effective coordination, but there is a need to better understand these underlying dynamics so that support can be well targeted.

While developing countries are taking important steps to integrate climate change into their economic development strategies, in many countries further work is required to enhance alignment between emergent climate response strategies, and existing investment and finance priorities.

A step forward could be to agree that readiness for climate finance is neither a plane nor a bird. But investments in climate finance readiness efforts can support enabling activities within countries that allow climate finance to be used to realise a ‘paradigm-shift’ towards climate compatible development strategies.