Spain - Climate


Spain is increasingly prioritizing climate change in its development cooperation policies and programs 

In 2019, Spain spent US$96 million (16%) of its official development assistance (ODA) on projects which targeted action against climate change as a principal or significant objective, making it the 19th-largest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to the issue, in absolute terms.  

Spain’s focus on climate change-related projects as a proportion of bilateral allocable ODA (16%) is lower than the DAC average of 23% making Spain the 20th-largest donor to this issue in relative terms. Spain’s relative funding for climate-related ODA declined by 50% from 2018 when funding rose to a high of US$192 million, or 26% of bilateral allocable ODA. 

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.


In the ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’ (Master Plan), climate action is listed as a strategic objective within which Spain aims to support middle- and low-income partner countries in 1) reducing CO2 emissions, 2) promoting the use of renewable energies, 3) protecting biodiversity and fostering sustainable fishery, and 4) facilitating efficient waste management. Other development sectors within the Master Plan (such as rural development and water and sanitation) also include climate change as a component, primarily focusing on climate mitigation and adaptation measures. Climate-related financing is provided through the ODA budget and funding sources from the Ministry of Ecological Transition. 
Spain is increasingly prioritizing climate change in its development cooperation policies and programs. In February of 2020, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation highlighted climate change and sustainable development as one of the key foreign policy priorities within her strategic priorities for her current term of office . In June of 2020, climate was again highlighted as one of the key features of Spain's renewed development policy, which was restructured as a result of the COVID-19 crisis . Under Spain’s upcoming Foreign Action Strategy (2021-2024), addressing the negative effects of climate change is highlighted as a key element of Spain’s development cooperation with partner countries. 

Spain’s climate-related ODA overwhelmingly focuses on adaptation measures 

Spain’s climate change-related ODA focuses on adaptation (95%) to climate change. Interventions aimed at climate change mitigation account for 73% of Spain’s funding in this sector. As is apparent from the relative size of these percentages, many of Spain projects are marked with both markers as projects can target both adaptation and mitigation. In 2019, 68% of Spain’s funding for actions against climate change was channeled toward projects that targeted both mitigation and adaptation. (For more information on the markers, see box.)  

In 2019, 9% of Spain’s bilateral allocable ODA was spent on projects with a significant climate change component (DAC average: 16%), while 7% of funding targeted climate change as a principal goal (DAC average: 7%). 84% of Spain’s bilateral allocable ODA did not target climate change or was not screened against the Rio markers in 2018, well above the DAC average of 77%.  

Projects in the environmental protection sector received the largest share (34%) of Spain’s climate financing in 2019, followed by projects in water and sanitation (27%), agriculture (including forestry, fishing, and rural development; 21%), and government and civil society (6%). 

Spain is a strong supporter of climate-related multilateralism at the international front 

Spain supports the following multilaterals in their work addressing climate change challenges:

  • Ibero-American Network of Climate Change Offices (RIOCC): Spain pursues technical cooperation in the climate sector with partner countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through RIOCC and the ‘ARAUCLIMA Programme’ (which is a Spanish development cooperation program to combat climate change and support sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean). In accordance with the priorities identified by the RIOCC member countries, most technical cooperation measures and activities focus on adaptation measures. 
  • Central American Integration System (SICA): Spain supports SICA in implementing policies that foster sustainable human development and reduce poverty. Through this forum, Spain supports cross-cutting programs affected by climate change including projects in the field of climate resilience and adaptation efforts.
  •  The Green Climate Fund: Spain supports partner countries in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change through this fund. In 2019, Spain pledged €150 million (US$168 million) for the Green Climate Fund's 2019-2023 replenishment session .

MAUC’s General Directorate for Sustainable Development Policies defines climate finance priorities 

Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAUC), the General Directorate for Sustainable Development Policies defines strategic priorities. Within Spain’s development agency (the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation or AECID), the Directorate for Multilateral and Sectorial Cooperation and its regional departments (including Directorates for Africa and Latin America) are in charge of the programming and implementation of Spain’s bilateral and humanitarian ODA related to climate change. The Minister of Ecological Transition and fourth Deputy Prime Minister, Teresa Ribera, steers Spain’s climate change policies at the domestic level and assesses MAUC in global climate affairs. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez represents Spain at high-level international forums on climate change.