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40 per cent drop in climate change adaptation funding should prompt action - Oxfam

Posted by Lucy Brinicombe Senior Press Officer

4th Apr 2013

New evidence of a 40 per cent drop in funding to help poor countries adapt to climate change should prompt renewed action at the Ministerial Meeting on Mobilising Climate Finance in Washington and meetings of EU climate experts in Brussels next week, international aid agency Oxfam said today. 

As part of an assessment that shows significant cuts in development aid to poor nations, the OECD yesterday published figures showing that targeted funding for programmes mainly focused on helping developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change fell to $1.8 billion in 2011 from $3.1 billion the previous year. 

The OECD has not released climate finance figures for 2012, but Oxfam's research on funding suggests that levels of public climate finance did not improve last year.

Oxfam's Climate Change Policy Adviser David Waskow said: "Funding is dropping at a time when it needs to be scaled up in line with UN commitments and when developing countries are dealing increasing impacts of extreme weather events.
"Governments can't leave it up to the private sector to fill this enormous funding shortfall. The private sector has mostly stayed away from funding some of the most important adaptation programmes to help people gain access to the water, food and basic services, since they offer little or no short-term return on investment."

2011 saw a $700 million increase in funding for projects considered to provide 'significant' benefits to climate change adaptation.  However these projects were not principally focused on climate change. Waskow said the increase could be due to a lack of rigorous international definitions for what constitutes a 'climate change' project.

At the 2009 Copenhagen talks, developed countries committed to provide climate finance balanced between adaption and emissions-mitigation programmes, yet Oxfam analysis has shown that just 21 per cent of funding has been allocated to help poor countries adapt. OECD figures show that targeted funding principally for mitigation purposes also declined dramatically by 45 per cent in 2011. 

The UK, Japan, Germany, Canada, EU, NZ, Denmark, France, Australia, Norway, Switzerland and Italy are expected to attend this meeting in Washington. EU experts for finance and environment are also due to discuss climate finance at separate meetings next week from April 8 - 10.


The OECD statistics with country breakdowns for climate finance spending are available here: 

For media enquiries, please contact Lucy Brinicombe 07786 110054 / 01865 472192 /

Blog post written by Lucy Brinicombe

Senior Press Officer

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