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UK aid’s international climate finance commitments

Review

Client:
Independent Commission for Aid Impact
Year:
2023

This rapid review found that UK aid’s £11.6 billion international climate finance (ICF) commitment to support developing countries to adapt and respond to climate change will be challenging to meet in light of stretched resources.

The rapid review found that 55% of the £11.6 billion is now planned to be spent in the last two years of the commitment, with up to £3.8 billion due in the final year, after the next general election and at least one spending review. It notes that there have been competing demands on UK aid in recent years. Such demands have included escalating humanitarian crises and conflicts, successive aid budget reductions since 2020 and the rising costs incurred by the Home Office for hosting asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. However, contrary to media reports in July 2023 that 83% of the aid budget would have to be spent via ICF to meet the £11.6 billion target, it was actually only 35% in May 2023 and was further revised down to 28% through the accounting changes.

While some of them improved accuracy of reporting, or reduced trade-offs with other priorities, changes to the way contributions were calculated with two years left to meet the target “moved the goalposts” in measuring additional climate finance for developing countries, according to the report. The changes saw the UK’s existing climate-related core contributions to multilateral development banks, and a fixed proportion of 30% of humanitarian programmes operating in the 10% of countries most vulnerable to climate change, newly classified as ICF.

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