France - Climate

France has long prioritized climate and funds the sector above DAC average levels

In 2020, France spent US$7.4 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 third-largest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)  Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to the issue in absolute terms.

This represented 56% of France’s allocable bilateral ODA, almost double the DAC average of 23%, placing France second of 30 DAC members. The share of France’s ODA targeting climate objectives increased from 2019 (40%), where it stood at 47% (US$5.3 billion).

Climate change is a longstanding priority of French development policy, particularly since the 2015 Paris Agreement, as well as the global commitment to mobilize US$100 billion per year from 2020-2025 by high-income countries.

Download
Download

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:

  1. Principal, for projects in which climate change mitigation or adaptation is a fundamental and explicitly stated goal;
  2. Significant, for projects in which climate change mitigation or adaptation is not a key driver but still an explicitly stated goal; or
  3. 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. The 2021 development law defines climate as a central cross-cutting objective of French development policy and emphasizes climate adaptation in particular. At COP26 in November 2021, France pledged US$7 billion in annual climate finance until 2025 to support partner countries. The French Development Agency (AFD) committed to disbursing 50% of its financing to climate-related programming - a target which it surpassed in 2021 when it disbursed €6 billion (US$6.8 billion) to climate-related programs. 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 Climate and Development Strategy 2017-2022 outlines four priorities:

  1. Ensure all development activities are in line with the Paris Agreement;
  2. Increase finance for climate mitigation and adaptation;
  3. Support the redirection of funds and investments towards investments in line with countries’ low carbon and climate-resilient transitions; and
  4. Co-create solutions and support norms.

Climate-related ODA is evenly split between climate mitigation and adaptation; the proportion of projects targeting climate principally is high

France’s climate-related ODA is relatively evenly split been interventions focusing on climate-change mitigation (70% of total climate-related financing) and interventions aimed at climate change adaptation (71% of France’s climate funding). The relative size of the percentages indicates a significant overlap between the two markers, as a project can target both adaptation and mitigation. Funding for adaptation has increased significantly compared to 2019, when it accounted for 56%, reflecting an increasing strategic focus on climate adaptation, including in connection to agriculture and other sectors. In 2020, 41% 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 COP26 pledge of €7 billion (US$8 billion) of annual climate financing, one-third is committed for climate adaptation funding, with a focus on countries in Africa, and especially within its 19 priority ‘sub-Saharan African’ countries (meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa, per the African Union’s designations; see ‘ODA breakdown’).  This work emphasizes climate-smart agriculture.

In 2020, 39% of funding targeted climate change as a principal goal – more than four times the DAC average of 9%. A smaller percentage of financing was spent on projects with a significant climate change component (17% of total bilateral allocable ODA; DAC average: 14%). 44% of France’s bilateral allocable ODA did not target climate change or was not screened against the Rio markers in 2020 (DAC average: 77%).

In 2020, the largest share of France’s climate financing focused on ‘agriculture’ (16%). ‘Financial services and business support’ received 15%, followed by ‘other sectors’ with 11%. ‘Water and sanitation’ stood in fourth position with 10% of total climate financing in 2020. This is in line with the policy priorities established for this sector in the 2018 CICID conclusions.

France hosted the Finance in Common Summit in 2020, bringing together public development banks to strengthen partnership and reinforce commitments for climate change action.

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 this funding is ODA-eligible. This includes contributions to the following multilaterals:

  • Global Environment Facility (GEF): During the eighth replenishment of the Global Environment Fund (GEF) in April 2022, France announced a record contribution amounting to US$360 million between 2022-2025 (a 40% increase compared to its previous commitment), allotting 36% of the amount for biodiversity protection.
  • Green Climate Fund (GCF): France hosted the Green Climate Fund’s first replenishment conference in 2019 and pledged €1.5 billion (US$1.7 billion) to the organization for 2020-2023.
  • Climate Investment Funds (CIF): Since its establishment in 2008, France has contributed US$230 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.