Global Britain in demand: UK climate action and international development around COP26 Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

So let’s […] show the world just how serious we are about delivering the change we need.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson1

Engaging meaningfully with low- and middle-income countries and marginalised communities

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)

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)

Providing sufficient, long-term and reliable funding

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:

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)

Reinforcing policy coherence across UK climate action

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)

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)

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)

Published: 26 October 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement