Policy Context

Under the Trudeau government, Canada has identified climate change as a standalone, strategic priority in its development cooperation agenda. Climate change has also been interconnected with other Canadian development priorities, notably gender equality. Canada's international efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation are guided by its FIAP.

‘Environment and climate action’ is one of the six Action Areas outlined in Canada’s FIAP. The government is particularly concerned with the ways women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change. The FIAP outlines three areas of focus:

  1. Supporting women’s leadership and decision-making in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, resilience-building, and sustainable natural resource management;
  2. Promoting gender-sensitive climate policymaking and financing in partner countries; and
  3. Boosting employment and business opportunities for women in the renewable energy sector.

ODA Spending

How much ODA does Canada allocate to climate projects?

How is Canada's climate ODA changing?

Canada’s funding commitments for climate have fluctuated in recent years, primarily due to irregularities in the timing of disbursements. Funding increased in 2021 to US$638 million, as this is the first year of Canada's commitment to double its international climate finance to US$4.2 billion over 2021-2026.

How does Canada allocate climate ODA?

In line with its policy, Canada's climate change-related ODA has a larger focus on adaptation than on mitigation measures. The prioritization of climate adaptation within its development policy increased under the current Trudeau government and is expected to continue as long as it remains in power. For instance, the climate change-related ODA in 2021 was skewed towards climate change adaptation US$228 million. US$24 million went to projects related to climate change mitigation, while US$386 million targeted both mitigation and adaptation.

Both principal and significant funding have fluctuated over time, leading to a change in total adaptation-related ODA. After a peak in 2018 of US$485 million in principal funding, largely allocated to the energy sector in South and Central America, principal adaptation-related ODA dropped to a low in 2020. Significant funding was largest in 2019 and 2021, driven by contributions to the agriculture and energy sectors, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

More than half of Canada's adaptation-related ODA to agriculture has adaptation as a principal objective and focuses on rural development, agricultural land resources, and agricultural development. Significant funding to agriculture was largely channeled to agricultural water resources and food crop production. Funding to health is nearly exclusively significant funding, meaning that adaptation has been mainstreamed into health projects, including basic nutrition and COVID-19 control. Funding for environmental protection primarily targets environmental policy and management, while multi-sector funding prioritizes disaster risk reduction.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

Canada contributes most of its climate financing through multilaterals, including CGIAR, IDA, FAO, WFP, IFAD, GCF, the Adaptation Fund, GEF, LDC Fund, and HIPCA.

Funding Outlook

What is the current government's outlook on climate ODA?

Canada’s budget for climate finance remained static between its Paris Agreement pledge in 2016 and FY2020/21. At G7 Summit in June 2021, Canada announced it would double climate finance allocations from US$2.2 billion, its Paris Agreement Pledge, to US$4.2 billion. According to the Canadian government, 40% of this will be allocated to climate adaptation projects. However, as analysis by the Canadian International Development Platform suggests, the impact of this increase will depend greatly on how effectively Canada spends these additional funds.

In 2022, the government announced that US$242 million of its new pledge will be channeled through an initiative called “Partnering for Climate”. The program will have two funding envelopes:

  • US$230 million will go to NGOs in Canada engaging in international climate programming in African countries, including US$15 million to advance women’s rights and climate change adaptation; and
  • US$12 million to support Indigenous Peoples and related organizations in Canada as a means of advancing climate action alongside Indigenous partners in LICs.

At the COP15 in December 2022, Canada announced US$196 million for biodiversity conservation, including:

  • US$168 million to the GEF for climate change mitigation as well as ecosystem and forestry protection;
  • US$12 million to the Feminist Climate Action in West Africa project to strengthen the participation of women and youth in local governance of biodiversity and climate action;
  • US$8 million to the UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative to improve biodiversity management and climate adaptation with clear benefits for women and Indigenous groups; and
  • US$8 million to the Moroccan Forestry Strategy to support management of forest ecosystems.

At the UN General Assembly in 2023, Canada committed an additional US$129 million to promote global climate adaptation and leadership with a focus on women and girls and US$13 million to accelerate climate adaptation and resilience across African countries.

Key Bodies

Related Publications

Climate Finance Commitment Tracker

COP28: Key takeaways and opportunities for advocates

The New Collective Quantified Goal: What advocates need to know

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