Date Published: 14 January 2022
On 19 October 2021 the International Development Committee published its Second Report of Session 2021–22, Global Britain in demand: UK climate action and international development around COP26 (HC 99). The Government response was received on 20 December 2021.
1. We are concerned that the FCDO might focus more on fast results than on tackling the root causes of social vulnerability in its interventions. Furthermore, we are concerned that social vulnerability might be considered less a core focus of the UK’s delivery of climate action and more just another tick box in project design. If adaptation is meant to protect the most marginalised people, the focus should be on improving their well-being and on the root causes of their social vulnerability. By investing in nature as a ‘default position’ instead of in partnership with local communities, the FCDO risks reinforcing or even worsening the vulnerabilities of marginalised groups and contributing to their displacement, continued discrimination or impoverishment. (Paragraph 24).
2. We are concerned about the extent to which the priorities and knowledge of marginalised groups are factored into measures tackling climate change. Ensuring that the voices of the most marginalised, local communities are fully taken on board will improve the quality and sustainability of adaptation programmes. We urge the FCDO to apply the Principles for Locally-Led Adaptation in order to address the root causes of social vulnerability in its programmes and to reduce the scope for maladaptation and unintended consequences of Nature-based Solutions. By 31 January 2022, the FCDO should present us with their pathway of how they will apply and promote the Principles for Locally-Led Adaptation in support of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) during the COP26 Presidency. (Paragraph 25).
We recognise the fundamental importance of indigenous and local community leadership, knowledge, technologies and spiritual values in designing and developing rights- and nature-based resilient and effective solutions to climate change and poverty, not least as stewards of 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity.
At the World Leaders Summit, the Prime Minister launched the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use. Leaders of over 140 countries, accounting for more than 90% of the world’s forests, have now signed up to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. The Declaration recognised that to meet our land use, climate, biodiversity and sustainable development goals, will require transformative further action including with “Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship”.
More specifically, the Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ (IPLC) Forest Tenure Pledge, led by the UK and supported by 22 bilateral and private philanthropies, has committed to advance security of forest tenure rights in partnership with IPLCs, through channelling support and activities to strengthen land and resource rights. This pledge specifically commits to promote the effective participation and inclusion of IPLCs in decision-making and include, consult and partner with them in the design and implementation of relevant programmes and finance instruments.
The UK is committed to continuing to place locally-led adaptation at the forefront of its work on adaptation and resilience. We prioritise locally-led action with a strong grounding in the local context and needs, targeting marginalised groups. Our programmes seek to understand and tackle the drivers of underlying vulnerability as well as those introduced or worsened by climate change. We work hard on evaluating not just how much we’re spending on adaptation but how effective that spend is.
FCDO programmes consider local needs from the very start. Programmes are designed in partnership with local experts and use our network of in country development specialists. Programme concept notes and business cases consider risks before they are approved.
The FCDO has also recently strengthened its approach to climate risk by integrating a climate and environment rule into the Programme Operating Framework. This rule requires all new FCDO ODA programming to align with the Paris Agreement, assess climate and environmental impact and risks, and take steps to ensure that no environmental harm is done.
The UK was one of the first two countries to endorse the “Principles for Locally Led Adaptation” at the Climate Adaptation Summit in January 2021. The UK’s COP26 Presidency also put locally-led adaptation at the forefront of its campaign on adaptation and resilience. The pre-Glasgow campaign worked with a number of delivery partners, including the Global Resilience Partnership, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the World Resources Institute to facilitate multiple ‘regional dialogues’ on resilience and locally-led adaptation.
The UK is providing tangible support to realise these principles across a range of enabling actions:
We welcome the views of the Committee and agree that locally led adaptation is critical for progress on adaptation and resilience. We are committed to supporting work using this approach and focussed on it both in the run up to COP26 and during numerous events in Glasgow. We are not able to agree with the Committee’s recommendation to submit a pathway for how FCDO will promote the Principles by 31 January 2022. We need to work closely with others, in particular Egypt as the incoming COP27 Presidency, to develop future strategy, and will report on progress by 31 March
3. Building the capacity of local authorities and grassroots organisations in LDCs and SIDS to tackle climate change requires more attention. We urge the FCDO to grow long-term capacity in LDCs and SIDS by lengthening programme cycles to 5–10 years for climate adaptation programme cycles. The FCDO should also provide multiannual funding for the Least Developed Countries Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR). Further, in line with the fourth Principle for Locally-Led Adaptation, “Investing in local capabilities to leave an institutional legacy”, the UK should sponsor courses in climate change and development in civil service training institutes and universities in LDCs and SIDS reflecting their priorities as well as offer training and exchange programmes in the UK for civil servants from LDCs and SIDS. (Paragraph 33).
The UK has a strong track record of promoting community-based or locally-led adaptation through previous programmes such as the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED, 2014–2019) which supported the establishment of County Climate Change funds in Kenya and various decentralised climate finance models in west Africa. On average our International Climate Finance programmes tend to last between 6–7 years.
At COP26, we announced our intention to support LIFE AR for another 5 years (with options to potentially extend beyond this in support of the LDC 2030 vision).
The UK and the Netherlands co-convened the Global Commission on Adaptation (2018–21) and launched a ‘year of action’ (2019–20) which focussed specifically on locally-led adaptation and developed the “Principles for Locally-led Adaptation”. This established the LLA ‘Community of Practice’, a network of community and grassroots organisations designed to share best practice as well as promoting the Principles. After the Commission ended in January 2021, the UK Government provided additional funding for the 2021/22 financial year to ensure this Community of Practice is maintained beyond the life of the Commission and to ensure that the network continued to grow ahead of COP26, and beyond.
The UK Government is also providing seedcorn funding to the Resilience and Adaptation Mainstreaming Programme (RAMP) to develop a global university network to provide training and services to central government ministries and build local capacity for adaptation planning. UK institutions engaged in this project include Oxford University, the School of Oriental and African Studies and University College London, as well as the Commonwealth Network of Universities. Founding members of the network include universities in Kenya, Jamacia, Tanzania, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Ghana.
4. Access to climate finance remains a significant challenge for LDCs, SIDS and grassroots organisations. For Global Britain to be a credible “force for good”, we urge the Government to use its COP presidency and position as a key donor to the multilateral climate funds to accomplish the following:
While the amount of available climate finance is increasing, current mechanisms for accessing climate finance are often slow, complex, resource intensive, uncertain, and project based. Insufficient coherence also leaves developing countries unable to access or utilise the support they need on climate action and sustainable development, offering a piecemeal response to partner countries’ needs. At the Climate and Development Ministerial, convened by the UK COP26 Presidency on 31 March 2021, participants recognised the urgent need to streamline access to climate finance, with greater individual and collective action required both before and following COP26.
The Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance was created in response to these longstanding calls for reform from developing countries. Co-chaired by Fiji and the UK, the Taskforce aims to transform the way climate finance is accessed through the implementation of a new approach, to ensure countries and communities get the climate finance they need faster, in alignment with their own plans and priorities, and supported by coherent, programmatic finance from multilateral and bilateral partners.
At COP26 the Taskforce published a set of Principles and Recommendations underpinning this approach: . These address a range of issues raised by LDCs and SIDS, including at the Climate and Development Ministerial, such as streamlining and simplifying accreditation, approval and reporting procedures, aligning support behind partner countries’ own national climate action priorities and strengthening the capacity of partner country institutions. Also announced at COP26 were five pioneer countries—Bangladesh, Fiji, Jamaica, Rwanda and Uganda—who will trial the new approach in cooperation with providers of climate finance.
The UK has committed £100m to support implementation of the new approach set out in the Principles and Recommendations, and we encourage other providers and recipients to join us in applying this approach and learning from it.
The UK also strongly supports measures to improve LDC and SIDS’ access to climate finance through the multilateral climate funds, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF). As noted in Lord Goldsmith’s letter to the Committee following his oral evidence session, the GCF developed its Simplified Approvals Process (SAP) to reduce the time and effort needed in the preparation, review, approval and disbursement procedures for certain projects, in particular small-scale activities. Following a pilot phase, in which 23 projects for a value of $208m have been approved through the SAP (74% in LDCs/SIDS/Africa), the UK has been championing the introduction by the GCF Board of an enhanced SAP for GCF. Options for measures to enhance the process which we are working on with recipient countries include:
The UK has also been championing an Updated Accreditation Framework for the GCF. The GCF’s existing accreditation process is already graduated, according to an entity’s demonstrated capacity to undertake projects or programmes of different financial instruments and the highest category of environmental and social risk of its intended projects. We are not therefore proposing a simplification of the criteria for LDCs and SIDS per se, but a streamlined approach to accreditation. This approach should speed up the time taken for entities to get accredited, while maintaining standards and safeguards (for example around fiduciary, environmental and social issues)
We also support the introduction of a ‘project specific’ approach to accreditation, to bring in new partners and accelerate access for specific purposes. We want an accreditation strategy for the GCF to ensure that: the GCF has the right partners to achieve its objectives; that access is facilitated for Direct Access Entities (DAEs), and that DAEs are supported to channel significantly more funding from the GCF.
It did not prove possible to secure agreement on an enhanced SAP or Updated Accreditation Framework at the GCF Board meeting in October 2021. The UK will continue work with partners in order to progress these initiatives at the Board in 2022.
In terms of the UK’s International Climate Finance (ICF), we are working to update the Government’s ICF Strategy to incorporate developments and commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow and aim to publish this by April 2022.
5. We believe that the current level of international climate finance is fundamentally over-reported, reducing the credibility of declarations and scope for achieving climate adaptation and resilience. We are calling for full transparency in the reporting of climate finance to enhance the ability of third parties to track funding from start to finish. To reach the UK-backed goal of channelling 70% of climate finance directly to local communities, we urge the FCDO to report in full transparency how much climate finance is reaching the local level through its main reporting channels—such as the UK’s Development Tracker and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—and to encourage other donors to do the same. Further, the UK Government should host regular meetings between fund-recipient institutions from LDCs and SIDS, bilateral and multilateral donors during its COP presidency to devise a functional definition of climate finance as well as a clearer definition of the term ‘new and additional’ for use by donors. The Government should provide a progress report by 31 March 2022. (Paragraph 62).
The UK recognises that developing countries need transparency and predictability about what our own and other donors’ commitments mean for the $100bn goal and what aggregate levels of climate finance will be delivered in the coming years. That is why the UK published a list of climate finance donors’ commitments in advance of COP26 and why the COP President asked Ministers from Germany and Canada to produce a Delivery Plan for how, together, developed countries will deliver the $100bn commitment. This was published on 25 October. At COP26 it was agreed that the UNFCCC’s Standing Committee on Finance would also report in 2022 on progress towards the $100bn, allowing for further clarity and transparency on climate finance flows.
The UK is committed to a robust approach for reporting its own climate finance and will continue to encourage other donors to do so within their pledges made on future climate finance. We will support initiatives led by international organisations such as the OECD and UNFCCC in better defining climate finance.
For example, the UK played a leading role in securing commitments on transparency as part of the OECD-DAC declaration in October 2021 on a new approach to align development co-operation with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change: . This declaration states that by the end of 2022 DAC members will:
The UK includes country level information, where this is available, in its UNFCCC reporting, and in its ODA data provided to the OECD. The UK government’s Development Tracker website now has an ICF tag which will identify programmes containing climate finance, provide country level information if available, as well as more detailed programme documentation such as business cases and annual reviews.
The Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF), finalised at COP26, is a reporting framework through which Parties to the Paris Agreement will share data on all elements of the Paris Agreement. This includes a suite of tables to capture information on financial, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support provided and mobilised by developed countries, and support needed and received by developing countries. Parties to the Paris Agreement, including the UK, will submit their first transparency reports by 31 December 2024 at the latest.
6. We are concerned about the broad list of exemptions in the Government’s new fossil fuel policy as it raises questions about the UK’s credibility as a “force for good” and its commitment to net zero. We therefore urge the Government by 31 October 2022 to drastically scale up its investment in renewable energy abroad and to end all exemptions for direct and indirect investment in fossil fuel projects abroad through CDC and other channels apart from support for clean cooking methods for people living in poverty. The Government should also instruct CDC to publish a full list of its existing investments in coal, oil and gas and how they intend to divest from fossil fuels by 31 October 2022. (Paragraph 74).
At COP26, the UK launched the Energy Transition Council, with over 20 governments and over 15 international institutions participating, to support countries’ transitions to clean power. The Council’s Rapid Response Facility is mobilising technical assistance for 20 countries.
The UK’s COP Presidency energy transition campaign has focused on accelerating the global transition from coal to clean power by:
This will also help to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 to ‘ensure access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030’.
The UK Government no longer supports the extraction, production, transportation and refining of crude oil, natural gas, or thermal coal overseas, with very limited exemptions to the policy that will be granted only in limited circumstances.
The exemptions are applicable to a small number of situations and are necessary to make this policy work in the real world and allow an orderly transition away from fossil fuels. They reflect the current state of renewable technologies and markets, ensure that neither taxpayers nor developing countries are disadvantaged and, most importantly, are in line with achieving the Paris temperature goals and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
Projects are considered on a case-by-case basis, with the exemptions being monitored by an internal cross Whitehall governance group to ensure compliance and relevance with the UK’s fossil fuel policy.
CDC now the British International Investment’s (BII) approach is fully aligned with the Paris Agreement and HMG policy. At COP26, BII committed to invest over £3bn in climate finance over the next five years—accelerating its already substantial investment in renewable energy (over $1 billion since 2017). In addition, BII is leading other development finance institutions to encourage more private sector investment in adaptation and resilience.
BII publishes information on all of its investments on its website , this includes details on both direct and indirect investments. BII has been reporting under the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) since 2019. To complement TCFD reporting, last year BII published its energy portfolio, and this is an exercise BII plans to repeat.
Responsible exits are a key part of BII’s mandate. BII does not intend to offload the emissions problems in developing countries onto other investors. Instead, it will actively support companies to adapt and transform to reduce their carbon footprint, as it has been doing in South Africa through the Just Transition Road Map.
BII is developing a carbon budget which will set out the clear trajectory for achieving net-zero by 2050 and meeting the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. It will share this information with the Committee in due course.
7. We understand the call of many contributors to create a separate funding stream for loss and damage from climate events, such as from sea-level rise, and acknowledge the challenges in accomplishing this at this time. Nonetheless, we urge the Government to ensure the operationalisation and adequate funding of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage by 31 January 2022 and thus keep the momentum on formulating policies and interventions to tackle loss and damage during its COP presidency. Further, the FCDO should work closely with LDCs and SIDS in developing practical measures to address loss and damage, especially where people are forced to migrate or change livelihoods to reduce risks to their livelihoods and lives. (Paragraph 81).
8. We welcome the Government holding a Climate and Development Ministerial meeting in March 2021 to capture the concerns of climate-vulnerable countries in the run-up to COP26. We recommend that the FCDO hosts a Climate and Development Ministerial with climate-vulnerable countries every year starting in 2022 to follow up on the measures listed in the “Climate & Development Pathway” of March 2021 and to keep the momentum gained from that first Climate and Development Ministerial. (Paragraph 91).
The UK COP26 Presidency gave Adaptation, Loss and Damage (ALD) greater prominence than at any other COP. This included a special event on Loss and Damage as part of the ALD Day programme, opened by the COP President Alok Sharma and the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Motley.
The UK also published a discussion paper on UK action to support countries to avert, minimise and address the risk of loss and damage from climate change: . The paper set out the importance of the issue and provided an overview of relevant action the UK has invested in as well as a summary of lessons learnt. It concluded by setting out proposed areas for action to strengthen efforts on loss and damage and highlighted our commitment to take this forward under our COP Presidency.
The Glasgow Climate Pact acknowledges that climate change has already caused and will increasingly cause loss and damage. It recognised the urgency of scaling up action to support developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change to avert, minimise and address loss and damage.
The conclusion of discussions on the functions of the Santiago Network agreed to support vulnerable countries access technical assistance on loss and damage and paves the way for greater resources to avert, minimise and address loss and damage.
The UK will use our Presidency year to help ensure the timetable for further development of the institutional arrangements of the Santiago network, as laid out in Decision CMA-3 on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with climate change impacts and in the Glasgow Pact, is met. This includes submission by Parties on their views on various aspects of the arrangements for the Santiago network by 15 March 2022. The Decision and Glasgow Pact also encourage funding to be made available.
New UK climate funding announced at COP will support vulnerable countries, including SIDS and LDCs, to adapt to the impact of climate change, including actions to help avert minimise and address loss and damage.
The UK is committed to taking forward the measures set out in Climate and Development Pathway throughout our COP26 Presidency, and we will continue to engage closely with partners in all these areas, making full use of the most appropriate fora for doing so. Work is already underway to deliver on all four workstreams of the Climate and Development Ministerial. For example:
9. Tackling climate change and biodiversity loss as the Government’s “number one international priority” will inevitably involve international development. We are concerned that the Integrated Review does not include explicit initiatives building the capacity of FCDO’s network to maximise the synergies between departments dealing with development, climate, energy, and the environment. (Paragraph 95).
10. A failure to anchor climate change in development and to ensure greater policy coherence in Whitehall will increase the scope for maladaptation, the negative consequences of poorly designed Nature-based Solutions and wasteful spending of the reduced ODA. By introducing a Climate and Development Minister, the UK would demonstrate that it is putting its words into action and implementing its Integrated Review and the concept of Global Britain in a coherent manner. (Paragraph 96).
11. We believe that climate and development are closely intertwined. The Integrated Review prioritises climate change “in 2021 and beyond” and suggests using UK ODA to increase the Government’s impact as a “force for good”. We therefore recommend the introduction of a Climate and Development Minister at the FCDO with a focus on adaptation and resilience to ensure alignment between the FCDO’s climate and development strategies during COP26 and beyond. (Paragraph 97).
As set out by the Prime Minister in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, tackling climate change and biodiversity loss, and remaining a world leader in international development, are key priorities for the UK. The creation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office supports this, integrating diplomacy and development to achieve greater impact and address the links between climate change and extreme poverty.
Following the Spending Review, the FCDO’s business planning process will provide oversight of financial allocations on climate and biodiversity. Central teams meet regularly with regional FCDO climate teams to ensure that programme and strategy delivery are aligning across different geographies and central steers are provided to ensure a coherent approach is taken.
There is already strong ministerial oversight for this policy area. The Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith is Minister of State with responsibility for climate and environment (including adaptation and resilience). The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, was also appointed UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency in November 2020. In the run up to COP26 she engaged with counterparts from across the world and made several country visits, to hear from those at the frontline of climate change impacts. At COP26 she took part in a range of events and led the UK Government’s programme for Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day on 8 November.
There are a number of initiatives that are building the capability of the FCDO’s network. For example, this year we held a virtual conference of several hundred civil servants working across the world from the climate, energy, and environment networks to enhance capability in these areas. Throughout 2021 there were weekly teach-in sessions on key COP26 topics for staff in the overseas network and in the UK, to ensure that all staff were equipped to engage with their host governments. These were complemented by sessions reflecting key events in the climate calendar, such as the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report: AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis in August and the release of the UK’s net-zero strategy.