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Climate finance fundamentals 12: small island developing states (2017 update)


Written by Charlene Watson, Neil Bird

Image credit:Aerial View of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This series of short, introductory briefings are designed for readers new to the debate on global climate change financing. In light of the fast pace of developments in climate finance, the briefs provide a better understanding of the quantity and quality of financial flows going to developing countries.

The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) together bear next to no responsibility for climate change, but their geographical, socioeconomic and climate profiles make them particularly vulnerable to its impacts. Spread across three regions, the 39 SIDS nations have received USD 1,380 million from multilateral climate funds between 2003 and 2017. This amount finances 210 projects in 38 SIDS (all SIDS have received finance except for Singapore). While approved funding for the SIDS has increased markedly in the past few years, it fulfils only a small part of actual needs.

With the majority of finance focused on adaptation, the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience and the Least Developed Countries Fund were the biggest contributors until this year when the Green Climate Fund took over. In 2017, USD 228 million was approved for projects in SIDS. A full 50% of this is programmed by the Green Climate Fund, including the largest single project, which directs USD 86 million to the construction of a hydropower facility in the Solomon Islands. Further scaling up both climate adaptation and mitigation finance to the SIDS is vital - both to address the vulnerability of SIDS inhabitants by making agriculture, biodiversity and infrastructure sectors more resilient to climate impacts, and to shift the energy mixes of SIDS away from fossil fuels.

Charlene Watson, Neil Bird, Liane Schalatek, Katharina Keil