Letter to G7 foreign ministers on importance of conflict-sensitive climate finance
The G7 Ministerial Meetings and Leaders’ Summit in April and May 2023 will hold important discussions on climate finance. I write to urge you to consider the impact of climate change on violent conflict, and to press for G7 commitments to facilitate and substantially increase access to climate finance for fragile and conflict affected areas (FCAS).
The creation of the Climate, Environment, Peace and Security Initiative in 2022 was an important step, but more is needed on this urgent issue. While no region is immune, the climate crisis is felt most profoundly in fragile and conflict-affected settings, which suffer from high vulnerability and low investments in coping capacity and adaptation. Eighteen FCAS rank among the top 25 countries globally for highest vulnerability and least coping capacity on climate change (ND-GAIN 2022). Despite this, the more fragile a country is, the less climate finance it has historically received from bilateral and multilateral climate funds. And much of the climate finance projects that reach fragile countries lack an understanding of the local context, meaning they may increase rather than decrease the risks of fragility and conflict. This means a significant risk of climate finance failing those most affected by the double burden of conflict and climate change. This requires an urgent and prioritised response.
The G7 can lead by example in increasing conflict-sensitive climate finance that reflects local priorities, in line with the seven-point agenda under the Climate, Environment, Peace and Security Initiative. Specifically, we urge the G7 to:
- Commit to making all new and existing adaptation finance conflict sensitive, to ensure it does no harm. This can be done by increasing the quality of adaptation finance for FCAS; giving local institutions and communities more direct access to finance and more say in how adaptation actions are prioritised, designed and delivered; and ensuring adaptation decisions are informed by local and indigenous knowledge.
- Ensure a greater proportion of climate finance is channelled to FCAS by removing barriers to access. This includes making funding long term, providing core funding to civil society organisations on the frontlines of climate change and conflict, and reducing bureaucratic hurdles, for example by introducing a fast-track scheme for FCAS.
- Encourage private and multilateral investment in FCAS, mobilising public finance to increase risk appetite among climate finance donors and investors. This can be done by producing sectoral understanding of what the risk in these areas actually is, creating public-private investment partnerships, conducting feasibility studies, and by aligning agendas across donors, government and intermediaries, allowing for common action plans.
I wish you success in the upcoming G7 meetings and stand ready to support you in achieving the goals set out above.
Nic Hailey CMG
International Alert Executive Director