Sweden - Climate
At a glance
Sweden is the fifth-largest DAC donor for climate-related ODA
In 2018, Sweden committed US$1.4 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 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development (DAC) donor to the issue, in absolute terms.
This represented 40% of its bilateral allocable ODA (well above the DAC average of 22%), making it the fourth-largest DAC donor in relative terms.
Since 2014, funding levels for climate-related ODA have been fluctuating, both in absolute and in relative terms. 2018 represented a peak in both regards. In comparison, funding was at its lowest in 2015, with US$491 million or 28% of bilateral ODA committed for climate-related purposes.
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.
The OECD DAC peer review (2019) commends 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). Within Sweden’s ‘Aid Policy Framework’ (2016), ‘the environment and climate change, and the sustainable use of natural resources’ is one of eight focus areas for Sweden development cooperation.
Sweden’s ‘strategy for global development cooperation in the areas of environmental sustainability, sustainable climate and oceans, and sustainable use of natural resources’ covers the period from 2018 to 2022. It highlights three main goals:
- Climate resilient sustainable development (including preventing climate change and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience to climate change and natural disasters, and supporting sustainable energy systems based on renewable energy);
- Environmentally sustainable development and sustainable use of natural resources (including supporting land-based ecosystems biodiversity and species, increasing access to sustainable and affordable renewable energy, improving sustainability of cities, improving access to basic services and housing in urban areas, and supporting sustainable production and consumption patterns); and
- Sustainable oceans and water resources (including protecting and restoring marine, coastal and freshwater ecosystems, biodiversity, natural resources, and ecosystem services, and working towards cleaner water and oceans).
The strategy is backed by a funding envelope of SEK6,500 million (US$748 million).
Funding focuses more strongly on climate adaptation then on climate mitigation
In 2018, US$1.1 billion of Sweden’s climate-related ODA went to projects supporting climate change adaptation, higher than the US$825 million funding that went to projects supporting climate-change mitigation. This included US$579 million (or 42% of total climate-related funding) which went to projects that contributed both to adaptation and mitigation. (For more information on the markers, see box).
This focus 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.
This focus on the overlap between climate adaptation and the use of natural resources drives Sweden’s investment in climate smart agriculture, including forestry and fishing: Agriculture received the second-largest share (17%) of climate-related bilateral allocable ODA in 2018. By comparison, it is the eight-largest sector of Sweden’s overall bilateral funding (including ODA not related to climate objectives). The largest sector was government and civil society (22%, also the largest sector of overall bilateral funding). Following this, the third-largest sector was environmental protection (14% of climate-related funding).
According to OECD data, in 2018, 30% of Sweden’s bilateral allocable ODA was spent on projects with a significant climate change component (DAC average: 15%). 10% of funding targeted climate change as a principal goal, above the DAC average of 7%. The remaining 60% of Sweden’s bilateral allocable ODA did not target climate change or was not screened against the Rio markers in 2018 (DAC average: 78%).
Sweden closely collaborates with and supports climate funds; it is the largest donor per capita to both GEF and GCF
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. It includes contributions to the following multilaterals:
- Global Environment Facility (GEF): Sweden is a strong supporter of the GEF, and its largest contributor per capita. In June 2018, Sweden hosted the seventh replenishment of the GEF, and pledged SEK2.0 billion (around US$230 million in 2018 prices) to the organization for 2018 to 2022, a 50% increase over its previous 2014-2018 pledge.
- Green Climate Fund (GCF): Sweden is also the largest donor per capita to the GCF and announced a doubling of its contributions to the organization in September 2019: Its pledges for the 2020-2023 period total SEK8.0 billion (US$921 million).
- Adaptation Fund (AF) and Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF): On the same occasion, the Swedish government announced SEK520 million (US$60 million) for the AF, a fund that focuses on climate adaptation and resilience, and SEK520 million (US$60 million) for the LDCF, a fund established in 2001 to support the LDC work program under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and operated by the GEF.
- Climate Investments Funds (CIF): Sweden is one of 14 donors to the World Bank’s CIF, and has contributed US$139 million to the funds since their inception in 2008.
The Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs share responsibility for international climate cooperation
At a ministerial level, the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the Government’s environmental and climate policy. It focuses primarily on domestic policies (biological diversity, chemicals, nature, and forests conservation), although its portfolio also includes international climate cooperation. Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the most relevant department for climate policy is the Global Agenda Department, responsible for coherence in the Ministry's work on climate issues (including in the UN and the EU), governance and evaluation of Sweden's development cooperation in the area of the environment and climate, and security and development policy aspects of energy issues. It is also in charge of the governance and evaluation of funding via multilateral climate funds. While the government decides on strategies, Sweden’s development agency, Sida, has a strong mandate to integrate these objectives into its regional, country of thematic strategies, and to implement them. Under the Ministry of Environment, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency carries out international cooperation with select countries and organizations.
Unless otherwise indicated, all data in this section is based on commitment. For more information, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.