Climate change, development and COP26


Submitted by E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism)



Introduction to E3G


Written Evidence


The risk of ODA cuts to COP26


In addition to undermining the potential for global recovery, which will ultimately be bad for UK interests, the decision to reduce ODA has had an immediate and damaging impact on the UK’s Presidency of the COP26 UN Climate Summit, which it will be hosting in Glasgow this November:

(1)   The cuts to UK ODA undermine the COP26 Presidency’s ability to persuade other wealthy countries to raise finance for climate action – a key objective this year

(2)   The cut to ODA severely damages the solidarity that the UK has with many poorer countries, impairing the COP26 Presidency’s ability to broker agreement at the Summit.

(3)   Reducing ODA exacerbates a challenging political and economic environment for developing countries.

To resolve this issue the government should immediately commit to restoring ODA to 0.7% GNI this year and commit to making climate finance additional to this. By doing so, COP26 can be a moment where the UK persuades other wealthy developed nations to do the same.




Spending 50% of international climate finance on adaptation

In its 2019 report, the Committee had recommended that the government maintain its commitments to spend 50% of International Climate Finance on adaptation.


The use of ODA to support fossil fuels

In its 2019 report, the Committee argued that “the only context in which it is acceptable for UK aid to be spent on fossil fuels is if this spend is ultimately in support of a transition away from fossil fuels and as part of a strategy to pursue net zero global emissions by 2050”.


UK engagement with multilateral development banks

In its 2019 report, the Committee had recommended that the UK should use its influence with MDBs to champion more strongly a shift away from high-carbon investments and a scaling up of investments that are compatible with a 1.5°C world, and that the Government should work together and coordinate with other MDB shareholders to amplify pressure.



[1] UK COP26 President, Written Ministerial Statement on COP26, March 2021

[2] Foreign Secretary, Statement on ODA, November 2020

[3] UK COP26 President, Closing Remarks at Climate Ambition Summit, December 2020

[4] UK COP26 President, Written Ministerial Statement on COP26, March 2021

[5] Earth Negotiations Bulletin, Summary of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, December 2009

[6] See Devex reports 19 March 2021 and 28 April 2021

[7] Open Democracy, UK Government accused of ‘grotesque betrayal’ as full foreign aid cuts revealed, March 2021

[8] The Guardian, Britain’s ‘brutal’ cuts to overseas aid put African science projects in peril, 28 March 2021

[9] LDC Chair, Twitter, November 2020

[10] Ban Ki Moon, The Times, November 2020

[11] The Guardian, UK urged to take lead in helping poor countries fund climate action, 29 March 2021

[12] UNECA, Communique of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development on special drawing rights for low-income and middle-income countries, March 2021