France - Climate
At a glance
France has long prioritized climate and funds the sector above DAC average levels
In 2019, France spent US$4.7 billion of its bilateral allocable official development assistance (ODA) on projects which targeted action against climate change as a principal or significant objective, making it the fourth-largest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to the issue in absolute terms.
This represented 44% of France’s allocable bilateral ODA, almost double the DAC average of 23%, placing France second out of 30 DAC members for this metric. The share of France’s ODA targeting climate objectives significantly increased from 2018 (by 214%) , where it stood at 24% (US$1.5 billion).
Climate change is a longstanding priority of French development policy, particularly since the 2015 Paris Agreement, which triggered a strong global commitment to mobilize US$100 billion per year from 2020-2025 by high-income countries.
Climate finance: funding for projects tagged in the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS) database with the Rio markers for climate change mitigation and/or climate change adaptation. Projects can be tagged with either or both markers.
Each marker has three possible scores:
- Principal, for projects in which climate change mitigation or adaptation is a fundamental and explicitly stated goal;
- Significant, for projects in which climate change mitigation or adaptation is not a key driver but still an explicitly stated goal; or
- Not targeted, meaning the project does not address climate change mitigation or adaptation.
Not all projects are screened against the Rio markers; this funding falls into the ‘not screened’ category.
French President Emmanuel Macron made climate a flagship issue of his presidency. As part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), France committed to allocate €5 billion (US$5.6 billion) in climate financing for 2020, while the French Development Agency (AFD) committed to disbursing 50% of its financing to climate-related programming: a target which it successfully hit in 2019. AFD disbursed €6.1 billion (US$6.8 billion) to climate-related programs in 2019, reaching its objective of 50% financial commitments having the co-benefit of fighting climate change and its effect. The AFD was appointed chair of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) in October 2017. Climate is a key priority of this network, particularly the implementation of the Paris Agreement. AFD’s cross-cutting Intervention Framework (CIT) for Climate 2017-2022 outlines four priorities:
- Ensure all development activities are in line with the Paris Agreement;
- Increase finance for climate mitigation and adaptation;
- Support the redirection of funds and investments; and
- Co-create solutions and support norms.
Focus is on mitigation; the proportion of projects targeting climate principally is high
France’s climate-related ODA mainly focuses on climate-change mitigation (72% of total climate-related financing) while interventions aimed at climate change adaptation account for 56% of France’s climate funding. As is apparent from the relative size of these percentages, there is also a significant overlap between the two markers. This is because a project can target both adaptation and mitigation. In 2019, 28% of France’s funding for actions against climate change was channeled toward projects tagged with both markers (for more information on the markers, see box). As part of the €5 billion (US$5.6 billion) commitment in climate financing, €1.5 billion (US$1.7 billion) are allocated for climate change adaptation funding by 2020, with a focus on Africa, and especially within its 19 priority ‘sub-Saharan African’ countries (meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa, as per the African Union’s designations; see ODA breakdown). This work emphasizes climate-smart agriculture.
In 2019, almost all of France’s climate financing was spent on projects with a significant climate change component (12% of total bilateral allocable ODA; DAC average: 16%). 32% of funding targeted climate change as a principal goal – more than four times the DAC average of 7%. 56% of France’s bilateral allocable ODA did not target climate change or was not screened against the Rio markers in 2019 (DAC average: 77%).
In 2019 the largest share of France’s climate financing focused on water and sanitation (21%). Infrastructure received 19%, followed by energy with 18%. Environmental protection stood in fourth position with 15% of total climate financing in 2019. This is in line with the policy priorities established for this sector – WASH and sustainable infrastructure – in the 2018 CICID conclusions.
AFD will host the ‘Finance in Common Summit’ in November of 2021, which aims to mobilize 400 public development banks to launch a new coalition in support of collective action for climate, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, and more broadly with the SDGs.
France is a strong supporter of a multilateral approach and successfully hosted the GCF’s first replenishment
France also contributes climate financing through multilateral organizations, though not all these funds are counted as ODA. This includes contributions to the following multilaterals:
- Global Environment Facility (GEF): At the seventh replenishment of the GEF in 2018, France pledged to continue supporting the GEF with €300 million (US$336 million) for 2019-2022.
- Green Climate Fund (GCF): France hosted the Green Climate Fund’s first replenishment conference in 2019 and pledged €1.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) to the organization for 2020-2023.
- Climate Investment Funds (CIF): Since its establishment in 2008, France has contributed US$278 million to CIF.
MAE defines strategic priorities for climate
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) oversees France’s policies on climate. The most relevant department is the Sub-directorate for Human Development (HUMA) within the Directorate-General for Globalization, Culture, Education, and International Development (DGM). The MAE’s work in this sector is supported by its thematic ambassador, in charge of negotiations for climate change for renewable energies and the prevention of climate risks. Further strategic priorities are spelled out in the AFD’s sectorial documents. Regarding climate, the most relevant AFD department is ‘Climate Change (CLI)’.
Unless otherwise indicated, all data in this section is based on commitment. For more information, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.