Issue Deep Dive


Last updated: December 21, 2022

ODA Spending

ODA In Context

In 2020, the UK committed US$2 billion of its bilateral allocable ODA to projects which targeted action against climate change as a principal or significant objective, making it the fifth-largest OECD DAC donor to the issue, in absolute terms.

The UK was the sixth-largest donor to climate ODA in relative terms.

In 2020, 6% of the UK’s bilateral allocable ODA was spent on projects with a principal climate change component, below the DAC average of 9%. While bilateral allocable ODA funding to climate in 2020 slipped below the DAC average, from 2016-2019, the UK remained consistent in meeting the DAC average.

30% of the UK’s bilateral funding targeted climate change as a significant goal in 2020 compared to the DAC average of 14%. This was a significant increase from the percentage of the UK’s bilateral funding targeted toward climate change as a significant goal in 2019, which was only 17%.

ODA Breakdown


37% of the UK’s bilateral allocable ODA was screened against the Rio markers as targeting climate change. This is above the DAC average (23%) but far from the government’s target of aligning all ODA with the Paris Agreement.

In 2020, only 3% of the UK’s climate-related ODA targeted both climate mitigation and climate adaptation. Mitigation (76%) received more funding than adaptation (28%), signaling a sharp shift away from adaptation and towards mitigation in 2020 compared to 2019. 37% of the UK’s climate-related ODA went to ‘financial services and business support’, 16% to ‘industry, construction, and mining’, 13% to ‘humanitarian support,’ and 8% to energy.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

The UK contributes some of its climate financing through multilaterals. Not all these funds are considered ODA.

Funding & Policy Outlook

The UK’s COP presidency is reinforcing its commitment to climate: The UK government is committed to providing at least £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) between 2021-2026 in international climate finance (all from the UK's ODA budget). This is double the UK’s previous funding. The UK government also announced at COP27 that UK adaptation financing would rise to £1.5 billion by 2025, a three-fold increase from 2019.

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Adam Jennison

Adam Jennison

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