Issue Deep Dive
Last updated: January 9, 2023
ODA in Context
Sweden ranks 15th among DAC donor countries in terms of its spending on projects with some degree of climate focus.
Sweden ranks 18th among DAC donors, when considering its spending on climate change-related projects, relative to its total ODA spending.
Climate-related commitments have been on the decline since 2019, dropping to US$723 million from US$1.4 billion in 2018, before declining further in 2020. This trend stands in direct contrast to the Swedish government’s commitment to double its climate development assistance budget to SEK15 billion (US$1.6 billion; in 2020 prices) by 2025, compared to 2019 levels.
The ‘2019 OECD DAC peer review’ commended Sweden’s international leadership on environmental sustainability and climate change, highlighting its work in assisting countries in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its adoption of an ambitious national target (net-zero emission by 2045). Following the inclusion of environmental and climate indicators in the upgraded version of the UN’s ‘Human Development Index Report,’ Sweden moved up to the sixth position. Within Sweden’s 2016 ‘Policy framework for Swedish development cooperation and humanitarian assistance,’ ‘the environment and climate change, and the sustainable use of natural resources’ is one of eight focus areas for Sweden's development cooperation.
According to OECD data, in 2020, 9% of Sweden’s bilateral allocable ODA targeted climate change as a principal goal—in line with the DAC average of 9%. 8% of funding was spent on projects with a significant climate change component ( DAC average: 14% ).
A large majority of Sweden’s climate-related ODA went to projects supporting adaptation. As a result, there is an emphasis on the overlap between climate adaptation and the use of natural resources, which drives Sweden’s investment in climate-smart agriculture, including forestry and fishing: agriculture received the third-largest share (13%) of climate-related spending in 2020, just behind environmental protection (39%) and 'other multisector' (14%). By comparison, agriculture is the sixth-largest sector of Sweden’s overall bilateral funding (including ODA not related to climate objectives).
In 2020, 83% (or US$216 million) of Sweden’s total climate-related ODA went to projects supporting climate change adaptation, while interventions aimed at climate change mitigation accounted for 79% (or US$203 million) of climate-related funding. As apparent from the relative size of these percentages, there is also significant overlap between the two markers. This is because a project can target both adaptation and mitigation. US$161 million (or 62% of total climate-related funding) went to projects tagged with both markers.
Focus on climate adaptation is reflected in Sweden’s 'strategy for development cooperation in sustainable environment, climate and marine resources, and sustainable use of natural resources,' in which the government highlights the opportunities for synergies between climate adaptation, sustainable use of natural resources, and disaster risk reduction.
Multilateral Spending and Commitments
In line with its overall ODA policy, Sweden works closely with multilateral organizations, to which it contributes significant amounts of funding, though not all these funds are counted as ODA.
Funding & Policy Outlook
Focus on sustainable development within climate, the environment, and our oceans: Sweden’s ‘strategy for global development cooperation in the areas of environmental sustainability, sustainable climate, and oceans, and sustainable use of natural resources’ covers 2018-2022 and highlights three main goals:
- Climate-resilient sustainable development;
- Environmentally sustainable development and sustainable use of natural resources; and
- Sustainable oceans and water resources.
The strategy is backed by a funding envelope of SEK6.5 billion (US$706 million).
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