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A DFID response to the ‘climate cataclysm’



A DFIDDepartment for International Development response to the ‘climate cataclysm’




(This short blog turned into a 5,000 word paper! A pdf may be easier to read and can be downloaded here)

 We are facing a climate cataclysm’, according to Rory Stewart, at the time of writing Secretary of State for International Development in the UK, and a candidate for leadership of the Conservative Party (and therefore Prime Minister): ‘We need wholesale change . . . I am going to make tackling climate change increasingly central to DFID’s work’.

This commitment is extraordinarily important, and marks a major departure in the language and priorities of DFIDDepartment for International Development ministers. It comes at a time when alarm about climate change is growing fast, and when the objective evidence amply underpins public concern: growing emissions, record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increasing frequency of extreme weather events. The UK Committee on Climate Change has called for a new target of Net Zero emissions by 2050. No wonder Parliament has declared a ‘climate emergency’.

As an initial step, Rory Stewart has announced that investment in climate and the environment is to be doubled over the next five years. But this can only be a first step. Here, I review some options and make ten suggestions, including five big shifts in DFID’s approach (Figure 1). The suggestions include revising the Single Departmental Plan, and writing a new Strategic Objective on climate compatible development. This is in Figure 2.

Figure 1

An action plan for DFID













 Figure 2

A new Strategic Objective on climate compatible development








A starting point for discussion is the mildly critical report earlier this year on climate finance, by the Independent Commission on Aid Impact, and the much more critical review, by the International Development Select Committee in Parliament, of UK Aid for Combating Climate Change. The IDCInternational Development Committee Report said that

‘It is . . .  disconcerting that there does not appear to be an active strategy underpinning the Government’s International Climate Finance spending. It is further alarming that climate change does not appear to be fully integrated across other aid strategies. This is not the response that a crisis of such magnitude demands. We recommend that the Government designs and adopts a clear, robust strategy for spending climate finance. The strategy should be outcome-oriented, time-sensitive, and based on the latest climate science. At the same time, climate change needs to be recognised as a cross-cutting strategic priority in the UK’s aid spending and should be comprehensively integrated across all development assistance strategies.’

From this perspective, doubling spending on climate and the environment is a good start, but there is obviously more to be done: strategy, policies, programmes, projects, climate diplomacy, and cross-Government initiatives are all in play. The IDCInternational Development Committee Report contains many good ideas, ranging from revised sector strategies, to longer planning cycles, greater policy coherence across Government, and major scaling up of DFID’s capacity. But there is more to be done. Remember, the Comprehensive Spending Review is coming up: DFIDDepartment for International Development will need high-level engagement on its future priorities.

Adopting the concept of climate compatible development

First, it is especially pleasing that the IDCInternational Development Committee Report picks up the concept of ‘climate compatible development’ (CCD) that we pioneered in CDKN from 2010 onwards. This is a concept that covers both mitigation and adaptation, as well as responding to changes in the world economy. See the CDKN book on ‘Mainstreaming Climate Compatible Development’ for a summary of learning, globally and in 70 countries. Read my Introduction for an overview of the seven main themes. And follow the current incarnation of CDKN for further insights.

The IDCInternational Development Committee is right to recommend the ‘explicit adoption’ of the CCD concept by DFID. This is because the concept allows for both mitigation and adaptation, as the IDCInternational Development Committee notes. There is also another reason, however, disappointingly neglected in much of the discussion. Our Venn diagram has three circles, not two.

The overlooked circle is that climate action needs to take account, not just of national circumstances, but also of what is happening in the rest of the world. That means thinking about mitigation options for a country, and adaptation options, but also the likely changes in global markets and prices which will impact on the economy. Some export markets may open – for solar panels, say, or lithium, to make batteries. Other export markets may close – for coal, perhaps. The range and availability of imports will change. Prices also.

We can say for sure that action on climate change will be highly disruptive of the world economy, with major impacts on developing countries. That puts industrial policy at the heart of the climate change debate, with a strong emphasis on innovation and on dynamic competitive advantage. There will be losers as well as winners, as between regions, genders, ages, sectors and occupations: managing transition is at the heart of climate compatible development policy, and is why social policy is also an essential component. On this, by the way, see the news about a leaked letter from the UK Chancellor to the Prime Minister, expressing alarm about the cost of transition.

A new Strategic Objective on Climate Compatible Development

To make the more comprehensive approach operational, the place to start is with DFID’s high-level strategy, embodied in its Single Departmental Plan. This was revised in May 2018 and has five high level Strategic Objectives, viz

  1. Strengthen global peace, security and governance
  2. Strengthen resilience and response to crisis
  3. Promote global prosperity
  4. Tackle extreme poverty and help the world’s most vulnerable
  5. Deliver value for money and efficiency

Note that climate change is not mentioned in this list, though it does appear further down the hierarchy of objectives, under the heading of resilience. The text here says that DFIDDepartment for International Development will provide ‘support for efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change and prevent environmental degradation’, by means of its work to

  1. Provide support to enable low carbon growth and greater country resilience to shocks (contributes to SDG 13)
  2. Continue to lead international action against climate change with BEIS and Defra (contributes to SDG 13)
  3. Work to prevent catastrophic environmental degradation, and tackle degradation of habitat and loss of species, including action to address marine plastic pollution with Defra (contributes to SDG 14)
  4. Help deliver a doubling of global public funding of clean energy Research, Development and Demonstration under the Mission Innovation Initiative (contributes to SDG 7)

There is no mention of climate change under other headings, though it obviously has links to growth and to poverty reduction, never mind peace and security, and value for money.

This is awkward, not least because DFID’s reporting, including in its Annual Report, is structured around the five objectives. The 2017-18 Annual Report, for example, has a chapter on each of the Strategic Objectives. There are four paragraphs on climate change in the resilience chapter, pasted in at the end for ease of reference, and just a couple of references in the prosperity chapter. It is notable that the IDCInternational Development Committee reported considerable criticism of the lack of attention to climate change in DFID’s economic development strategy; this is a point I have also made.

The Annual Report is published in the summer, so the 2018-19 edition has probably already gone to press. It is unlikely to have a different structure. However, there is an opportunity for next year. The Single Departmental Plan is supposed to be revised every year, and although no announcement has made to that effect in 2019, it would be possible to change the objectives and then reshape the Annual Report.

If climate change is to be taken seriously, as Rory Stewart decrees, then a new Strategic Objective for a revised Single Departmental Plan could read as follows:

‘Support climate compatible development in and for poor countries and people:

  • Help develop and implement climate compatible development plans in poor countries;
  • Work with middle income developing countries to develop and share climate compatible solutions;
  • Build global climate compatible development regimes and finance mechanisms; and
  • Collaborate across Government on domestic and international climate compatible development policy.’

Many changes could follow: from having an objective of this kind; from developing a logical framework for each sub-objective; and from thinking about a theory of change to achieve each. All the key questions need to be asked: Who? What? Where? Why? When? How much? This probably needs a task force or an independent commission. DFIDDepartment for International Development would also benefit from a single, strategic Climate Change Advisory Committee: this could replace a series of project-specific advisory bodies.

Building climate compatible development into national plans and country diagnostics

Because climate compatible development is wide-ranging, it cannot be siloed in Ministries of Energy or Natural Resources. CDKN experience was that climate action only took off when Ministries of Finance committed to the area.

An obvious approach is for countries to produce ‘Climate Compatible Development Plans’, but our view was that countries did not need multiple plans, and that the priority was to build climate change into current planning processes. In this we drew on the experience of trying to mainstream issues like nutrition, food security, gender, or the environment.

A diagnostic tool can be useful, however. DFIDDepartment for International Development has worked in the past with growth diagnostics, as pioneered by Hausmann, Rodrik and Velasco. An ICAI review in 2017 found mixed experience in applying the lessons from diagnostic exercises, but described the effort as ‘an important learning tool’.  A new wave of country diagnostics has also been rolled out, as reported by Devex, focused on  “the underpinnings of economic transformation alongside state capability, resilience, human capital, governance, and conflict, so that country offices can make choices about their economic development priorities’ Perhaps climate should be on this list?!

DFID note the use of country diagnostics in the latest iteration of the Smart Rules Manual, published in April 2019, but without giving details on the methodology. If climate is not already prominent in the exercise, it needs to be, in relation to all three circles of the Venn diagram - mitigation, adaptation, and transformation. The diagnostic methodology also needs to be in the public domain.

Working with middle (and low) income countries to develop and share climate compatible solutions

There is a debate to be had about whether the fact of climate change means that DFIDDepartment for International Development should spend more money in middle income countries, perhaps particularly on adaptation, and on crisis response. This became a live debate following the impact of repeated hurricanes in 2017 in middle income countries of the Caribbean which had graduated from the list of aid recipients, and resulted in a change of rules to allow ‘reverse graduation’.

It was also interesting, in this context, to see the Select Committee pick up the controversial issue of Loss and Damage, which applies to both low and middle income countries. The Select Committee concluded that

‘The issue (should not be) subsumed into a wider conversation on resilience, which fails to discuss loss and damage directly. The Government cannot rely on co-benefits from other streams of work on resilience to address loss and damage. As part of its leadership on resilience at the Summit in September, the Government should explicitly open a conversation around loss and damage and how it can best be addressed, by developed and developing countries in partnership.’

That issue apart, and ‘controversial’ is a mild term, given the open-ended commitment implied, development agencies have good reason to engage with countries that might not otherwise receive support, in the pursuit of climate action as a global public good. This can mean investment in mitigation in such countries, valuable for its own sake; and joint programmes with middle income countries, which help to develop and share technical or institutional innovations.

DFID offers many examples of such work: for example in China, where a joint UK-China Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation includes climate-related areas among its strategic goals; or in India, where a new UK-India Knowledge Partnership has climate change as one of its key priorities.

There are also global initiatives, like the International Solar Alliance, originally launched by India in 2015, and now with over 120 member countries, including the UK. In all these cases, DFIDDepartment for International Development is contributing to South-South Cooperation – the topic of a recent High-Level UN Conference in Buenos Aires, BAPA + 40. The outcome document, of course, called for more support for this area from traditional donors. 

The strategic question for DFIDDepartment for International Development is how much to earmark for such work. I once proposed segmenting 0.7, so that 0.5, say, an arbitrary figure, was available for poverty reduction and human development in the poorest countries, and 0.2 for global public goods, of which climate change action would be one. Middle income countries would not receive all of this, but the amount of money could be significant. DFIDDepartment for International Development spent £14.5 bn in 2018, amounting to 0.7% of GNI, so 0.2% would be some £4.15 bn.

Probably, form should follow function. The Grand Challenge approach has been adopted by the UK Industrial Strategy, with a list of ‘Missions’, including clean growth and zero carbon industrial clusters. One option for DFIDDepartment for International Development is to identify the Grand Challenges which will benefit climate action, and fund them appropriately.

Building climate compatible development regimes and finance mechanisms

The Select Committee ran through many of the issues related to climate regimes and finance mechanisms. It touched on climate diplomacy, when to activate the sunset clause of the Climate Investment Funds, the need to strengthen the governance and operations of the Green Climate Fund, and the role of the MDBs. There are three areas, however, that the IDCInternational Development Committee did not discuss.

The first is whether DFIDDepartment for International Development should have a view on how to translate the concept of a ‘climate cataclysm’ into mitigation objectives. This is an urgent question, given the need for all countries to submit revised Nationally Determined Contributions in time for the 2020 Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC. Is zero carbon by 2050 the right answer, as the UK’s Committee on Climate Change has recommended? Or should 2025 be the deadline, as demanded by Extinction Rebellion? What are the implications for different developing countries, some of which have ambitious climate plans and some of which, according to Climate Action Tracker, do not?

I have been writing about this, in the context of the UK’s embedded emissions in imports, which account for 45% of our global footprint. Common but differentiated responsibility remains a guiding principle. But the UK, with DFIDDepartment for International Development in the lead, needs to Encourage, Incentivise, and Enforce more ambitious action across the world.

The second issue is whether a focus on climate change implies a different balance of spending between bilateral and multilateral channels. This is an old chestnut, with which successive DFIDDepartment for International Development bilateral and multilateral aid reviews have failed to grapple, and which ICAI has not really addressed. For example, in looking at the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund, I asked why ICAI had not carried out a comparative analysis of other ways of spending money to reach the same objectives, via UN, EUEuropean Union or World Bank instruments. The same question could be asked of the CDC: its climate spending is favourably assessed in the IDCInternational Development Committee report, but is it really better than, say, the IFC?

ICAI reported that two thirds of the Government’s climate finance for low-carbon development (i.e. excluding adaptation) had been spent through multilateral or multi-donor channels. This is a higher share than for the aid programme as a whole.  ICAI listed some advantages of the multilateral spend, in terms of aid effectiveness, and the UK’s international position, but did not explicitly comment on the share. Would the advantages have been even greater if the share had been even larger? DFIDDepartment for International Development and its external auditors need to focus more on comparative analysis.

The third issue is that talk of a ‘climate cataclysm’ exposes the need for a better narrative around the SDGs. I am on record as saying that the SDGs provide an excellent vision of an eventual destination but a poor road map (e.g. here) – partly because choices, trade-offs and sequences are not addressed. Of course, all SDG shortfalls are ‘cataclysms’ of a kind, especially when disease and deaths result, but the new narrative around climate and environment implies the need for prioritisation.

Collaborating across Government on domestic and international climate compatible development policy

In this area, climate compatible development policy is a special case of policy coherence, a topic much discussed in development circles. The IDCInternational Development Committee reviewed it in 2015, in its report, Beyond Aid. It concluded that DFID’s record was ‘patchy’ and recommended that

‘DFID make policy coherence for development (PCD) a higher priority and make improvements to reporting and accountability. DFIDDepartment for International Development needs to put PCD at the heart of its work, co-operating closely across Whitehall, and not treat it as an add-on. The National Audit Office and the Independent Commission on Aid Impact should give a higher priority to PCD.’

The IDCInternational Development Committee Report reviewed the experience of other countries, and of the EU, many of which offered lessons for the UK, including legislation and the establishment of specific PCD Committees. It noted that the International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Act of 2006 required the Government to report on policy coherence, but said that reporting was currently poor, and that policy coherence should be incorporated more systematically in the DFIDDepartment for International Development Results Framework. The latest DFID Annual Report, for 2017-18, does not seem to have made much progress on these matters. Policy coherence is not mentioned. There is, however, a section on ‘Our Work Across Government’. This does not mention climate change specifically, but does say that

‘DFID is collaborating ever more closely with other UK government departments on a range of issues to address today’s complex global challenges. In many instances, the drivers of poverty alleviation are also ‘beyond’ aid, including financial flows like foreign direct investment and remittances as well as changes in international trade, tax and other policies. To ensure that the UK’s expertise and value is fully utilised, we are therefore taking an increasingly government-wide approach to development.

As a member of the Cabinet, the National Security Council (NSC) and a number of Cabinet subcommittees, as well as co-chair of the cross-government Official Development Assistance (ODA) Ministerial Meeting, the Secretary of State has ensured that development priorities are fully considered as part of the government’s wider policy making.’

There does seem to be an opportunity to make climate change more visible in this process. There is no Cabinet Committee on climate change, for example. And perhaps the independent Committee on Climate Change needs a remit which specifically refers to developing countries, including their contribution to the UK’s global footprint. Its recent report, Net  Zero, published in May 2019, has a chapter on ‘Supporting Increased Global Ambition’, with a review of collaboration options covering: governance and capacity building; diplomacy and negotiations; technology development and sharing; climate finance; and carbon markets. There is no discussion of the role for DFID.

Practical issues

What does all this mean for DFIDDepartment for International Development in action? It is hard, and probably inappropriate, to be definitive from a top-down perspective. There are big debates on topics like green growth versus de-growth (Jason Hickel)  or ‘regenerative growth’ (Kate Raworth); on the scope for a Green New Deal, as in the UK or the US; on population growth as a driver of emissions; and on the necessary links, as Andrew Norton and Dilys Roe have just emphasised,  between the climate emergency and wider biodiversity crises.

Most important, it is necessary to locate the climate debate within the wider context of global re-thinking about the future of capitalism, and its response to global disruptions, including climate change, but also automation and unequal globalisation. I write about these issues all the time, as do others. See, for example, three books I have recently reviewed: the Report of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice; Paul Collier’s on Facing the New Anxieties; and Joseph Stiglitz on Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent. Dealing with the climate is one piece in solving a complex puzzle.

Let me try, however, to stimulate a reaction, by proposing five big shifts that might follow for DFIDDepartment for International Development from Rory Stewart’s pivot to climate change. The big shifts are undeniably provocative, by design. They also recognise that doing more of something (e.g. climate change) means doing less of something else. The five are

  1. From the SDGs to Grand Challenges

If the SDGs offer a vision of the destination rather than a road map of how to get there, an alternative approach is to specify the Grand Challenges or Missions that will trigger transformation. The Apollo Mission is a much-cited example. The German Energy Transition, the US SunShot and the Clean Energy Materials Innovation Challenge are all examples in the climate arena: all are described in the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report for 2018, in a chapter written by Mariana Mazzucato and Gregor Semieniuk. Of course, innovation requires strong policy support – an innovation systems approach is needed. The authors say that

‘Innovation policy requires attention to be paid to the entire innovation chain: from the supply side (from basic and applied R&D to demonstration) to the demand side (regulations, subsidies and taxes, procurement, and significant changes in consumption patterns) . . . In low-carbon sectors, in addition to grant funding, an important share of research, development and venture capital funding comes from public sources . . . and almost half of the investments into demonstration projects originate in public innovation institutions . . . Similarly, governments are highly active on the demand side with subsidies — whether set administratively (such as feed-in tariffs) or through auctions — loan guarantees and significant direct investment . . . Public procurement can also help spur innovation by favouring low-carbon technologies . . . and regulation must be conducive to innovation, which includes avoiding over-regulation while new business models are still forming.’

This already implies quite a shift in the aid programme. More science and technology, for example; more investment in universities and research centres in developing countries; more collaboration with the private sector; more support to reform of fiscal policy; and, importantly, more spending in middle income countries.

What would be the next Grand Challenges, the next round of Mission-oriented innovation initiatives? There are many options; clean transport, by road, rail, sea and air; sustainable afforestation; urban redesign; sustainable, resilient infrastructure; low carbon agriculture; appliance efficiency . . . This area is crying out for ambitious proposals, perhaps in a competitive format.

The UK has a Global Challenges Research Fund, not well-evaluated by ICAI in 2017. It could be merged into a greatly expanded new approach, but with research embedded much more firmly in programme delivery and innovation systems. A Global Challenges Research and Delivery Fund?

And note, that there is an opportunity cost. Doing more in this area, will inevitably mean cutting some cherished programmes focused specifically on the SDGs. For example, spending more on higher education and research, might, not necessarily, but conceivably, mean leaving to others support of primary education.

  1. From projects and programmes to budget support

At country level, a greater emphasis on climate change implies greater horizontal and vertical integration: horizontal in the sense of dealing with policy as well as technology; vertical in the sense of seeing change through to implementation on the ground. In this context, budget support is a more attractive option than individual programmes or projects.

There was a time in which budget support was a preferred option for donors, seen as consistent with the Paris Principles of Aid Effectiveness. It could either be in the form of ‘general budget support’, underpinning a recipient Government’s budget, or ‘sector budget support’, focused on an individual sector, like health or education. General budget support, at least, has rather gone out of fashion, with the EU being one of the few remaining advocates.

DFID’s position was reviewed by the IDCInternational Development Committee in 2017. It found that

‘DFID is ending all of its traditional general budget support—giving money directly through beneficiary governments. DFID’s focus on fragile and conflict-affected states means that there are fewer governments with which it is working to whom it is appropriate to give general budget support. General budget support should not be used with governments with high levels of mismanagement or corruption. There is, however, evidence which shows that, when used and managed appropriately, general budget support can be an effective means of development. We therefore recommended that DFIDDepartment for International Development should consider “the case for an option to give general budget support in exceptional circumstances, where systems are in place to effectively monitor transparency and accountability.” DFIDDepartment for International Development disagreed with this recommendation, stating that it “will neither start any new, nor restart any previous, traditional general budget support programmes in conventional aid settings” as DFIDDepartment for International Development increasingly works in countries where it is less appropriate and with different needs.’

Perhaps a focus on Missions would change that, especially if funding were taking place in countries with less fragile governance. Budget support would also allow greater flexibility in funding the social costs of transition, including safety nets.

  1. From ownership to conditionality

This one really is provocative, but there is a case for DFIDDepartment for International Development to be much more demanding in terms of climate action by developing countries. The voluntary system used by the UNFCCC is hardly delivering the rapid reductions in emissions that are required (see the UN Environment Emissions Gap Reports), and although the main culprits are developed countries, it is also true that developing countries need to be more ambitious. For example, the Climate Action Tracker, which actually does not cover most developing countries, says that only Morocco and the Gambia have commitments consistent with 1.5 degree warming.  Five more countries are compatible with 2 degrees, including India and Ethiopia. Every other country is categorised as insufficient, highly insufficient, or critically insufficient. Chile, China, Peru, Brazil and Turkey all fall below the bar.

More generally, I looked at this question in the context of global footprints, and recommended that developed countries should Encourage, Incentivise and Enforce higher ambition in developing countries. The first two are obviously preferable, but carbon tax adjustments or other trade measures could play a part as a last resort. Certification could also play a role, and is a growing area. But the point is that incentives and enforcement both imply a robust dialogue with aid recipient countries, perhaps leading to some form of conditionality.

Conditionality could be positive as well as negative, for example with rewards for more ambitious emission reductions. DFIDDepartment for International Development could make a major commitment to help developing countries finance the additional effort embodied in Conditional rather than Unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions.

  1. From fragile states to climate vulnerable countries

DFID has committed to spend 50% of its resources in fragile states, and has developed instruments to help deliver the commitment, including the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.

Personally, I am not a fan of the fragile states classification. There are too many overlapping lists, with over half of aid recipient countries classified by one donor or another as ‘fragile’. I have argued instead for ‘conflict-affected’ to be a more limited category which focuses on the especially difficult task of combining diplomatic, military and aid-related interventions.

Climate vulnerability, however, might be an additional option, not to merge with conflict-affected as a single category, but as an extra. Interestingly, the OECD/DAC States of Fragility Report has environmental vulnerability as one of its criteria. This attempts to capture the vulnerability to environmental climatic and health risks to citizens’ lives and livelihoods, including exposure to natural disasters, pollution and disease epidemics. A country list does not seem to be published, but the map in Figure 1 shows that many African countries fall into the most vulnerable category, with countries in South Asia and East Asia not far behind, and Central America also prominent. Could these provide a focus for DFIDDepartment for International Development work on adaptation, particularly, and for disaster planning?

Figure 3

Countries identified as environmentally fragile by OECD/DAC







  1. From bilateral to multilateral

Finally, DFIDDepartment for International Development needs to address the question of whether new objectives can best be achieved via bilateral or multilateral channels. Prima facie, there might be a case for an increase in the multilateral share, including via cooperation with the EUEuropean Union after Brexit. On the other hand, if DFIDDepartment for International Development is really going to pioneer a new approach, and pursue the big shifts, there may be a case for retaining strong bilateral control.


To summarise, then, these are the steps DFIDDepartment for International Development could take:

  1. Adopt the concept of climate compatible development, as recommended by the International Development Select Committee;
  2. Revise the Single Departmental Plan and introduce a new Strategic Objective on climate compatible development;
  3. Set up a new DFIDDepartment for International Development Climate Change Advisory Committee;
  4. Support countries better in building climate compatible development into national plans;
  5. Insist on a climate change lens in country diagnostics;
  6. Earmark a larger share of oda to work with middle (and low) income countries on Grand Challenge Missions which will benefit the climate;
  7. Commit to encouraging, incentivising and enforcing higher ambition climate plans and lower carbon intensity of exports by developing countries;
  8. Assess the scope for increasing climate funding through multilateral channels;
  9. Advocate for stronger UK Government structures and processes on the international dimensions of climate change, for example via a Cabinet Committee on climate change, and a wider remit for the UK Climate Change Committee.
  10. And practically, consider five big shifts in DFID’s approach:
  • From the SDGs to Grand Challenges;
  • From projects and programmes to budget support;
  • From ownership to conditionality;
  • From fragile states to climate vulnerable countries; and
  • From bilateral to multilateral

Climate change in DFID’s Annual Report for 2017-18

DFID continues to play a key role in the UK Government’s efforts to prevent climate change and assist the poorest in adapting to its effects. As part of the historic global climate agreement struck in Paris in 2015, the UK committed to increasing its international climate finance by 50% to at least £5.8 billion between 2016-17 and 2020-21. DFIDDepartment for International Development climate finance has supported millions of the poorest and most vulnerable people, particularly women and girls, to cope with the effects of climate change by boosting their resilience to floods, droughts and other climate impacts and to gain improved access to clean energy.

DFID is leading reform of the international climate architecture, including the Green Climate Fund, to ensure it significantly reduces future greenhouse gas emissions as well as delivering tangible benefits for the poorest people who are already experiencing the severe effects of climate change. These activities will contribute towards achieving Global Goal 13 on combatting climate change and its impacts.

DFID is working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) across a number of areas to address catastrophic environmental degradation. Notably, Defra is now a cofunder of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the leading mechanism for funding developing countries to address global challenges including biodiversity loss, land degradation, international waters, climate change, and chemicals and waste. DFIDDepartment for International Development and Defra are working closely on the design and funding of the next four years of the GEF and pushing for increased focus on UK priorities including the illegal wildlife trade and marine plastic pollution.

DFID also provides technical support to Defra policy-led programmes, for example, the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. Both departments have been working closely together over recent months on developing action to address waste management in developing countries as part of the government’s commitment to tackle plastic waste. DFIDDepartment for International Development has committed to spending £65 million on clean energy Research, Development and Demonstration in 2020-21 as part of the wider UK commitment to the Missions Innovation initiative and we’re increasing our spend year on year to reach that point. Programmes are being developed to deliver the best results for this commitment. In the past year, contributing programmes have supported technologies as diverse as second-life battery repurposing, off-grid refrigeration, smart minigrids, and solar crop processing technologies.


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