The SEEK Climate Team has been tracking climate commitments made by 14 major donors and has been building out the first-of-its-kind tracker to provide advocates with live updates on donor climate-related pledges.
The tracker now features coverage of the tracker to now include adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage related pledges, in addition to broader coverage of fourteen donors.
- 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.
- While it is relatively easy to track commitment announcements, understanding whether commitments are then budgeted is a lot more difficult. Donors often announce commitments at large events such as the COP, making them public knowledge. However, understanding what commitments have been entered into national budgets, and subsequently dispersed to the partner organization or government, is much more difficult to ascertain. This gap points to the larger issue of lack of transparency around climate finance and understanding what committed finance is being allocated and disbursed;
- It is unclear whether commitments are new, or are ‘re-commitments’ of already announced funds.Donors often take advantage of high-level meetings to announce commitments but it can be unclear whether “new” funding is additional to previous announcements, or simply a rebranding of the same funding. In the same vein, it is also difficult to know whether pledges have already been accounted for in larger pledges.
In light of these difficulties, the aim of the tracker is not to provide a 100% accurate figure of all a donor’s climate finance commitments, but rather to give advocates a broad idea of what sectors, regions, and organizations donor countries are focusing on, and how they compare across the broader donor landscape. This is also why the tracker provides both the headline climate finance commitment as well as individual pledges, acknowledging that the latter are likely already included in the former;
- Commitments are increasingly tagging more than one area of climate action. Commitments are increasingly targeted towards both mitigation and adaptation, and to a lesser extent, L&D. However, it is often difficult to know the specific proportion of adaptation or mitigation-related activities;
- Commitments are often channeled through multilateral organizations. Multilateral pledges to organizations such as the GEF and the GCF are often easier to trace, and the timeframes are easier to record due to the recurring replenishment periods.
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.
Clicking the title of each column will sort the tracker by column value. A "-" indicates there is no available data on the column.
There is a continued lack of trust amongst actors. For example, at COP28, HICs confirmed that the US$100 billion goal was likely fulfilled in 2023, but that the world will need to wait until OECD data in 2025 at the earliest to fully confirm this assumption. This announcement faced backlash from parties and civil society actors, especially those most impacted by climate change, who insisted that those countries most responsible for climate change are still not doing enough to maintain temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
The New Collective Quantified Goal, which will be decided upon in 2024, is expected to increase the international climate finance goal from this baseline of US$100 billion currently in place. However, considering the difficulty HICs have experienced in reaching the current target, it remains to be seen what the New Collective Quantified Goal, will look like.
While there was some progress at COP28, climate finance is not anywhere near the level it needs to be. For example, parties in Dubai finally agreed on the creation of a Loss & Damage Fund after thirty long years of campaigning by countries most vulnerable to climate change and its impacts. However, the dedicated fund has only received approximately US$700 million as of January 2024, far below the estimated US$290 billion to US$580 billion needed annually up to 2030, rising to between US$1.1 trillion and US$1.7 trillion by 2050.
Therefore, climate finance levels are nowhere near where they need to be. With constrained ODA budgets across HICs, with many citizens around the world head to the polls in 2024, there will be continued uncertainty around the delivery of international climate finance pledges. For example, while the UK government confirmed that it will follow through on its GBP11.6 billion (US$14 billion) commitment , it has also decided to change its methodology for how ICF is counted to make it easier to meet the pledge within its current reduced 0.5% ODA/GNI ratio.
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;
- 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".
- Commitment tracker updates: The commitment tracker is updated approximately once monthly, with increased frequency around major international climate events.
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.