France - Climate

France has long prioritized climate change but ODA funding below DAC average in relative terms

In 2018, France spent US$1.2 billion of its bilateral allocable ODA on projects which targeted action against climate change as a principal or significant objective, making it the sixth-largest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)  Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to the issue in absolute terms. This represented 18% of its allocable bilateral ODA, less than the DAC average of 22% and putting France at 19th out of 30 DAC members for this metric. The share of France’s ODA targeting climate objectives significantly decreased since 2017, where it stood at 52% (US$4.2 billion).


France's bilateral ODA for climate

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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.


Climate change is a longstanding priority of French development policy, particularly since the 2015 Paris Agreements. These agreements triggered a strong global commitment to mobilize US$100 billion per year from 2020 to 2025 by developed countries. French President Emmanuel Macron has bolstered the country’s commitment to tackling climate change by making it a flagship issue of his presidency. The country committed to increasing financing for climate-related programs by €2.0 billion (US$2.4 billion) per year between 2015 and 2020, while the French Development Agency (AFD) committed to disbursing 50% of its financing to climate-related programming. According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), AFD disbursed €4.8 billion (US$5.7 billion) to climate-related programs in 2018, reaching its. 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:

  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; and
  4. Co-create solutions and support norms.

Focus is on mitigation; proportion of projects targeting climate principally is low

France’s climate-related ODA mainly focuses on climate-change mitigation (79% of total climate-related financing). Interventions aimed at climate change adaptation account for 55% of France’s climate funding. As is 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. In 2018, 34% 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). The government is aiming to reach €1.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) of climate change adaptation funding by 2020, with a focus on Africa, and especially within its 19 priority sub-Saharan African countries (see ODA breakdown).  This work emphasizes climate-smart agriculture.

France's bilateral ODA for climate by sector

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In 2018, almost all of France’s climate financing was spent on projects with a significant climate change component (18% of total bilateral allocable ODA, DAC average: 15%). However, less than 1% of funding targeted climate change as a principal goal – markedly below the DAC average of 7%. A large proportion (82%) of France’s bilateral allocable ODA did not target climate change or was not screened against the Rio markers in 2018 (DAC average: 78%).

France's bilateral ODA for climate by type of intervention, 2018

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In 2018 the largest share of France’s climate financing focused on the environmental protection sector (22%). Infrastructure received 15%, followed by water and sanitation (15%). Agriculture stood in the fifth position with 13% of total climate financing in 2018. This is in line with the policy priorities established for this sector – WASH and sustainable infrastructure – in the February 2018 CICID conclusions.

AFD will host the ‘Finance in Common Summit’ in November 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; successfully hosted the GCF’s first replenishment

France also contributes climate financing through multilaterals, 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 June 2018, France pledged to continue supporting the GEF with €300 million (US$354 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 to 2023.
  • Climate Investment Funds (CIF): Since its establishment in 2008, France has contributed US$277 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.