The SEEK Climate Team is tracking climate adaptation-related commitments across ten donors, whose combined contributions amounted to approximately 52% of total adaptation funding in 2020. This commitment tracker is the first of its kind and aims to provide advocates with live updates on donor adaptation-related pledges.
Over the second half of 2023, SEEK will work to broaden the tracker’s coverage to also include climate commitments beyond adaptation, notably mitigation and loss & damage related commitments, as well as including commitments made by a wider set of donor countries.
- There is a lack of commitment tracking for climate adaptation: As of July 2023, research indicates that there is no commitment tracker providing regular live updates on donor adaptation-related climate pledges, or indeed climate pledges more generally. While data on climate finance flows are available from sources such as the OECD, these data are not timely enough, delaying investigations until after finance has already been disbursed and implemented;
- There is a lack of ambition among donors: Climate finance targets rarely reflects the level of urgency needed to fight climate change and its impacts, as evidenced in the struggle to achieve the annual US$100 billion climate finance target. This lack of ambition is particularly relevant for climate adaptation, as investments in adaptation lag behind the target of US$40 billion annually by 2025;
- There is a lack of transparency: It is difficult to distinguish between new funding pledges and repeat commitments by donors. In addition, it is difficult to ascertain the quality of the funding being counted as climate finance in support of adaptation, and whether it is going to areas that need this finance the most; and
- There is a lack of accountability: The lack of data hampers efforts to hold donors accountable for their commitments. Accountability is particularly important around key international gatherings, such as the November 2023 COP28, to ensure the US$100 billion climate finance pledge and other pledges are met.
- There is a lack of available data on the follow-through of these pledges, specifically related to whether commitments have been integrated into government budgets or not. In addition, it is often unclear whether finance is being pledged in the form of grants or loans, or a combination of both;
- Climate adaptation is increasing in importance across donor countries, both in terms of political rhetoric and the proportion of headline climate finance pledges that is dedicated to adaptation-related activities;
- There is often a preference for financing climate adaptation through multilateral channels, which may have implications for funding distribution; and
- The majority of commitments are made around the time of major climate events, and particularly around the COP. This time is therefore a key moment for advocacy and pushing for further climate adaptation commitments.
The commitment tracker can be used as a tool for advocates to live-track commitments and stay well-informed on donor pledges, to leverage timely data in donor meetings with relevant stakeholders, and to ensure accountability for countries on both new and existing pledges. In addition, advocates can quickly identify and follow medium- and longer-term trends, such as new funding for loss & damage, energy transition, adaptation vs. mitigation, and tendencies for loans vs. grants, as well as understand how adaptation-related climate commitments are developing in specific donor markets.
The commitment tracker follows major climate-related events, such as the COP and UN Regional Climate Weeks, and records the commitments made during these events. The tracker also gathers information from SEEK’s own Donor Tracker, which collates relevant policy updates for priority donor markets. Commitments are also tracked through the analysis of strategy and policy documents, detailing donor prioritization of climate adaptation and adaptation-related commitments.
While the commitment tracker provides a very comprehensive list of major commitments tracked by the SEEK Climate team, the list is by no means exhaustive, for several reasons:
- Specific donor commitments may not have been widely available or may have conflicting reported numbers. The start and end years of commitments are often missing from announcements, as well as the next steps related to budgeting and programming of finance;
- Since many of the commitments are for multiple years, a direct comparison from one year to the next is not always possible;
- Countries rarely explicitly state whether the funding is new (additional) or part of previous pledges. The same is true for the lack of information on what kind of money countries are pledging, e.g. loans or grants, and whether it counts as ODA; and
- Countries do not always provide information concerning the targeted country and/or region, or indeed if this pledge intends to target several regions at once.
With these challenges in mind, there are several caveats when engaging with the commitment tracker:
- Key donors: The first iteration of the commitment tracker focuses solely on the identified key donors, based on their major contributions to adaptation funding;
- Adaptation-related commitments: These commitments were initially selected through SEEK’s own assessment based on available documents. Within the commitment tracker, commitments that were focused solely on adaptation were given a score of 100%, commitments that focused on adaptation as well as mitigation and/or loss & damage were given a score of 50%, and those without any focus on adaptation were scored as 0%;
- Commitment announcement: The date the commitment was made was included when available, and otherwise the date of news source was used. For the origin of the pledge, SEEK included the event and/or the engagement at which the pledge was announced. If this information was not available, the link to the announcement was included;
- Commitment timeframe: If a start date of the commitment timeframe was not given, the year following the pledge date was given as a start date. In other words, if the commitment was announced in 2022, the start date was marked as 2023. These assumed start dates have been marked with an asterisk in the table;
- Currency conversion: The commitment tracker displays all commitments in US$, and uses the latest OECD currency exchange rates; and
- Likelihood for advocacy: The tracker also displays assessment of whether the pledge is still influenceable. Pledges that have already been committed to organizations will be ranked "low", pledges that have not been committed yet to an organization but are planned to be realized in the next year are rated "medium", pledges that have not been committed to an organization and are ending in 2 or more years are rated as "high".
SEEK provides sources for all listed commitments and continues to review the data to assess its accuracy. Feel free to reach out to the Climate team with any corrections or additional information.
This is the first iteration of the commitment tracker. SEEK will expand its commitment tracking to include commitments related to mitigation and loss & damage in addition to adaptation. The tracker will also be broadened to include commitments from a larger number of donor markets to provide a more holistic picture of global climate action efforts. The tracker will endeavor to provide more data, including data on how governments are implementing commitments through budgeting and programming, as well as visualizations to show the level of commitments over time.
The commitment tracker is updated approximately once monthly, with increased frequency around major international climate events.