Aligning Development Co-operation and Climate Action
The Only Way Forward
Climate change is altering the ecological and social systems that underpin human well-being
and economic activity, and developing countries are particularly vulnerable to its
impact on the growth and sustainable development prospects of every sector and community.
Being part of the solution requires all providers of development co-operation to align
their activities with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. However many still lack
the mandates, resources, incentives and strategies to do so. This report outlines
how providers can make changes at home, in developing countries and in the international
development co-operation system, to help create low-emissions, climate-resilient economies,
and how they can avoid supporting activities that lock the world into an unsustainable
How climate-compatible is international aid? To what extent are official financial flows to developing countries and the actions they support “consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development”, per the Paris Agreement’s Article 2.1?
Development co-operation is not playing its full part to achieve the Paris Agreement
Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. People around the world are experiencing increasingly frequent and severe climate change impacts, from hurricanes and floods to droughts and heatwaves. People in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries are enduring these escalating risks and disasters. Despite this, development co-operation is not yet systematically addressing the global climate crisis. Developed and developing countries alike continue to follow unsustainable pathways.
Development finance is still used for activities that undermine sustainable development, and there is no strong upwards trend in shares of climate-related finance to tackle rising climate risks in developing countries.
Shares of climate-related development finance, 2013-17
Development co-operation cannot meet development needs if it fails to account for current and future climate risks. Development finance is still used for activities that undermine sustainable development, and the lack of a strong upwards trend in shares of climate-related finance suggests insufficient action to account for rising climate risks in developing countries.
New guidance for development co-operation to tackle the problem
In order to help providers of development co-operation reform their financing, policy support and capacity development interventions, the OECD Secretary-General has convened a High-Level Advisory Group – comprised of international leaders and experts on sustainable development and climate change – and an Informal Expert Group.
Article 2.1 of the Paris Agreement emphasises the aim of strengthening “the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by
Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and
Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development."