OECD report confirms far too much climate finance given as loans that force poorer nations into debt

Published: 6th November 2020


Responding to today’s report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on flows of climate finance from developed countries to developing countries, Tracy Carty, Senior Policy Advisor on Climate Change at Oxfam said:

“These figures confirm that far too much of the climate finance from governments and development banks is in the form of loans that force poorer nations to fall further into debt as they struggle with the impacts of climate change. It is particularly unjust that a paltry 14 percent of climate finance is going to the least developed nations and just 2 percent to small island developing states, which have done least to cause the climate crisis but are being hit hardest.

“Climate finance is a lifeline for communities facing record heatwaves, terrifying storms and devastating floods. Wealthy countries should stop inflating their figures with loans that will be repaid, and start increasing grants, especially for the most vulnerable countries to use for adaptation.”

Notes to editors

Climate finance is money provided by developed countries to developing nations as an obligation under the UNFCCC due to their responsibility for carbon emissions and their capacity to pay.

Last month Oxfam published its Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020, which also assessed the latest figures reported by donors for 2017 and 2018. It estimated that the true value of support for climate action once loan repayments, interest and other forms of over-reporting are accounted for was only a third of that reported by donors ($19-22.5bn per year in 2017 and 2018). 

The OECD report does not provide an estimate of total non-concessional finance, but Oxfam estimated it was 40 percent of public climate finance in 2017-18 ($24 billion). The terms of this finance are not disclosed but some of it includes market rate loans.

The OECD report Climate Finance Provided and Mobilized by Developed Countries

in 2013-18 states that:

  • In 2018, loans represented 74 percent ($46.3 billion) of public climate finance, up from $19.8 billion in 2013. Grants represented just 20 percent ($12.3 billion) of public climate finance.
  • In 2018, just 21 percent ($16.18 billion) of all climate finance provided and mobilized was for adaptation, 70 percent for mitigation ($55 billion) and 9 percent was cross-cutting ($7.1 billion).
  • In 2016-18, just 14 percent of climate finance provided and mobilized went to Least Developed Countries and 2 percent to Small Island Developing States. The proportion of funding provided in the form of loans was 66 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Contact information

Anna Ratcliff: anna.ratcliff@oxfam.org / +44 (0)7796 993288

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.


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