Increasing funds to tackle climate change miss out world’s most vulnerable, new report finds

A new report published today by Development Initiatives highlights the need for international public climate finance to be targeted differently if it is to contribute to meeting global commitments on vulnerability to poverty.

The report, which looks at climate finance in the context of building resilience and reducing poverty, finds that while international public resources to tackle climate change are increasing, vulnerability and the links between poverty and climate are not reflected in the allocation of those resources.

Funding remains concentrated in a handful of countries and is not distributed in line with where the people most vulnerable to climate change live.

Key findings

  • Just under half of the global population living in extreme poverty live in countries vulnerable to climate change. Despite this, allocations of adaptation finance do not prioritise the countries most vulnerable to its impacts: in 2014 total adaptation approvals were greatest to the 49 countries with mid-range vulnerability scores. Some of the most vulnerable countries such as Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra-Leone and Liberia received particularly little – less than US$10 million each compared with an average of US$65 million.
  • The 14 countries with the deepest levels of poverty (>20%), received among the lowest amounts of total adaptation finance – a 2014 average of US$56 million per country, compared with an average of US$73 million in 67 countries with poverty depths of less than 5%. Support was especially low to Micronesia, Lesotho and Togo, which received less than US$10 million each.
  • Countries with the highest vulnerability to climate change, and the lowest domestic revenues to build capacity to respond, receive some of the smallest amounts of adaptation finance. For example, Sudan and Burundi – with the highest levels of vulnerability and lowest government revenues – received relatively small amounts of adaptation support (US$31 million and US$39 million respectively in 2014), much less than the country average of US$65 million.
  • While mitigation finance is distributed fairly proportionately against patterns of greenhouse gas emissions, support is lacking to a number of countries with significant mitigation needs and relatively low domestic government resources, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria – each also home to high populations of extremely poor people.

The report recognises that climate change threatens to reverse progress towards tackling vulnerability and building resilience, as well as having the potential to create new forms of poverty. It argues that, for these reasons, resources aimed at tackling climate change must be allocated after careful consideration of their impacts on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

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Contact: Emma Cooke, Communications Officer


T: +44 (0) 1179 272 505


Notes to editors:

  1. Daniel Coppard, Director of Research, Analysis and Evidence, is available for interview.
  2. The full report is available here.
  3. Charts and data can be provided, and can be used with the following credit:
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Data analysis and figure development by Development Initiatives:

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About Development Initiatives

Development Initiatives (DI) is an independent international development organisation that focuses on the role of data in driving poverty eradication and sustainable development. DI’s work on global humanitarian assistance provides objective, independent, rigorous data and analysis on humanitarian financing and related aid flows.