Nature being sidelined in efforts to fund adaptation to climate change

Press release, 9 March 2022
Fraction of climate adaptation finance from OECD countries supports biodiversity despite poorest nations prioritising nature.

Less than 10% of finance provided by OECD countries to help the least developed countries (LDCs) adapt to climate change is also being used to protect and restore nature, according to preliminary analysis from IIED.

The amount of finance being provided by richer countries to help LDCs adapt to climate change is already woefully inadequate. This new analysis from IIED raises further concerns – between 2014 and 2018, less than 10% of $7bn in funding from OECD countries that could be verified as supporting clear climate adaptation outcomes in LDCs made any reference to also protecting or restoring ecosystems, biodiversity or nature.

This is despite LDCs prioritising activities that jointly address climate change and nature loss. IIED analysis in 2021 of plans submitted by the 46 LDCs to show how they will tackle climate change found that harnessing the power of nature was central to their efforts in all but one of the countries. What they need now is the funding to be able to carry out their plans, such as regenerating degraded forests and identifying stress tolerant varieties of livestock and crops.

The recent IPCC report is the latest in a string of assessments to reinforce the inextricable link between climate change and nature.

Ebony Holland, IIED’s nature-climate policy lead, said: “We cannot solve climate change without also addressing the loss of species, habitats and ecosystems.

"For example, restoring mangrove forests can buffer coastal communities from storm surges, provide critical habitat for fisheries and sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide. Restoring these coastal forests has benefits for climate change, for nature and for people too, just as destroying them would be catastrophic.

“Nature and climate go hand in hand. OECD countries must step up and deliver financing that jointly tackles the crises of global warming and loss of biodiversity.”

Countries are due to come together next week for a new round of negotiations for a new global biodiversity framework ahead of a summit of world leaders known as COP15 which will be held later in the year. It’s hoped COP15 will be a significant moment in the fight to prevent nature loss, much as the talks in Paris in 2015 were key to the fight against climate change, with OECD countries stepping up with stronger funding commitments for LDCs.

The UK will shortly release its new international development strategy and updated framework for providing international climate and nature finance. Last year the UK committed to allocate GBP£3bn of a total of £11.6bn over five years to restore and protect nature.

At COP26, Canada also announced that more than CA$1bn of its $5.3bn climate finance will address both climate change and biodiversity loss. These are welcome commitments, but others within the OECD must do more, especially to match the ambitions of countries receiving this finance.  

IIED’s latest analysis of the OECD data on climate finance also revealed the lack of transparency and consistency in reporting. The quality of the data varied, and researchers found several issues such as many duplicates and high variability in the availability of online information to verify the data. These issues raise concerns over the accountability of the data.

Holland said: “Donors need to be much more transparent about exactly how much funding they are providing to help countries and communities adapt to climate change, and what this funding is supporting. Without clear and consistent information, it is very difficult to understand if the needs of people at the frontline of the climate and nature crises are being met.”

Media enquiries

For more information or to request an interview, contact Sarah Grainger (sarah.grainger@iied.org) or +44 705 643 332

Notes to editors

IIED analysis of plans submitted by the 46 LDCs to show how they will tackle climate change was published in this blog: Nature-based solutions: building blogs for green recovery and climate action