Going Green: Top 10 Bilateral Climate Change Donors In 2010-2012

Jan 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: Capacity Development, Development and Climate Change, Financing, Governance, International Agencies, News

Devex: The world’s major bilateral donors continue to invest in climate change programming, primarily to comply with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change $30 billion Fast Start Finance mechanism for enhanced action on mitigation, adaptation, REDD+, technology development and transfer and capacity building.The chart above and corresponding analysis shed light on the financial commitments and operational activities of leading climate change donors for the period of 2010-2012.


As the top financier of climate change initiatives, Japan disbursed half of its pledge of $15 billion in 2010 to support assistance to areas in mitigation, adaptation, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, or REDD+. Japan’s mitigation projects are focused on reducing emissions and promoting climate change policy through renewable energy in solar, wind and geothermal power, which amounted to $6.2 billion in 2010 and $3.1 billion in 2011 last year. In line with its mitigation projects, Japan’s REDD+ program delivered $577 million in climate change efforts on least developed countries and small island developing states. Adaptation efforts to aid and rehabilitate countries in order to cope with climate change amounted to $1.5 billion for the same period, while another $1.5 billion was invested in climate investment funds and other initiatives.

 United States

 As part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Global Climate Change Initiative, core climate change funding from the United States is administered as Fast Start Finance and exceeds $500 million for the years 2010 through 2012. Direct climate change funding is largely administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of the Treasury, and Department of State and divided into the three pillars of adaptation, clean energy and sustainable landscapes. Under adaptation, the U.S. provides livelihood and food security to countries vulnerable to climate change, as well as developing high level climate information through satellite monitoring and early famine warning systems. For 2012, adaption programs will receive $215 million. For clean energy, the U.S. will also invest approximately $195 million to develop capacities for low emission development strategies. Under its sustainable landscapes and REDD+ initiatives, the U.S. will also invest $241 million in 2012. Multilateral assistance is channeled through the Climate Investment Funds, among them the Clean Technology Fund, Global Environment Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund.

In addition to Congress appropriations averaging over $1 billion each year for climate change initiatives, there has been a notable increase in nontraditional financing from two U.S. export credit and investment insurance agencies, namely the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Export-Import Bank, which together provided $400 million in 2010.

 United Kingdom 

 Committed to being the “greenest government ever,” the U.K. launched the International Climate Fund, which has a budget of 2.9 billion pounds ($4.52 billion) from 2011 to 2015. Undertaking results-oriented programs, the U.K.’s climate change assistance to developing countries include helping farmers adapt to climate change, helping people cope with extreme weather events, ensuring access to clean energy, working with the private sector in investing on low carbon development, and supporting the fight against deforestation by tackling illegal logging.


 Cognizant of the serious consequences of climate change and loss of biodiversity, Norway prioritized climate change and the environment in its current developmental policy. With a programmable climate and environment aid budget of 3.29 billion kroner ($567 million), Norwegian assistance seeks to ensure sustainable management of biological diversity and natural resources, and access to clean energy. Specifically, Norway seeks to mitigate climate change by providing technical assistance for REDD+ programs, investing in low-carbon technology through the Clean Energy Initiative, and investing on greenhouse gas mitigating projects through the Clean Development Mechanism.


 To assist developing nations in coping with climate change, France pledged €1.26 billion ($1.7 billion) for the period 2010-2012. Prioritizing the fight against deforestation, France supports the integration of adaptation to climate change in national policies of its partner nations and carries out environmental pilot projects. Specifically, France provides technical assistance to African countries in framing national climate change adaptation programs and supports innovative projects in energy conservation, biological carbon sequestration, and sustainable forest management (i.e. BioCarbon Fund and Forest Carbon Partnership Fund in Central Africa).


 With a climate change aid budget of €1.26 billion for 2010-2012, Germany is scaling up its support for developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts. Germany provides developing countries both with financial and technical assistance for carbon emission reductions, REDD+, and transfer of energy saving technologies. With a special focus on Africa, Germany’s climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives include formulation and implementation of low emission strategies, rehabilitation of coastal resources (i.e. Tunisia’s Plan National contre l’Erosion Marine), and sustainable use and conservation of forests.


 Sweden’s commitment to climate change is a central aspect of its development cooperation that links to other areas in food security, water, sustainable energy and urban development. Core funding falls to its adaptation projects and disaster risk reduction at €347 million for 2010-2012. Under its mitigation efforts, Sweden has allotted €59 million, and €11 million specifically for REDD+ funding for the same period.


 Although Dutch support for climate change was earmarked at $453 million (€350 million) for the period 2010-2012, the Netherlands provided additional support pursuant to the Copenhagen Accord with Fast Start financing of €310 million. A substantial portion of funding goes to REDD+ projects at €195 million and other mitigation projects focused on renewable energy and biofuels with €95 million for the same period. Bilateral cooperation was allotted €147 million and focuses on the regions of South America, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Netherlands’ multilateral cooperation accounts for €89 million and contributes to projects headed by the World Bank and its support to the private sector through the bank’s International Finance Corp. It is also a contributor to the other multilateral initiatives, such as the Global Environment Facility and Least Developed Countries Fund.

 European Union 

 Working to strengthen the resilience of developing countries to climate change and mitigating GHGemissions, the European Union committed €7.35 billion over 2010-2012. The EU’s climate assistance includes promotion of national adaptation plans, promotion of climate smart agriculture, support for low-carbon energy and low-carbon transport initiatives, support for sustainable forest management, and reduction of emissions. This year’s beneficiaries of the EU’s climate change adaptation assistance include Gambia, Benin, Bhutan, Laos, Samoa, and countries of the lower Mekong river delta.


 Given its budgetary constraints, Spain makes use of a variation of investments, grants and concessional loans, contributing funds up to €50 million to multilateral banks and initiatives such as the Strategic Climate Fund, which is part of the multidonor trust fund within the CIFs. Spain’s contributions also fund projects by the World Bank and the U.N. REDD program. In 2010, Spain also channeled €86 million for adaptation efforts to other initiatives such as the GEF and Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.

 Author: Christine Dugay contributed to this report.



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