New approach paper – International climate finance: UK aid for halting deforestation and preventing irreversible biodiversity loss

7 Dec 2020

A forthcoming review by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) will examine the effectiveness of UK aid in halting deforestation and preventing biodiversity loss.

The details of the planned review are set out in a new approach paper published today. Currently, just 3% of international climate finance to reduce emissions goes towards protecting forests and other ecosystems, even though tropical forest loss currently accounts for 8% of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions.  In addition, biodiversity is declining globally at an unprecedented rate – and species extinctions are accelerating, with likely grave impacts on people around the world.

The review will explore how well UK aid has helped to identify solutions and mobilise finance for tackling these challenges, looking at both the direct results of UK programming and the government’s wider efforts to galvanise international action. The review is timely given the UK’s leadership of international events in 2021, including COP26, at which nature will be one of five key priorities, and the UK’s presidency of the G7, during which the global climate response is expected to feature.

ICAI estimates that the UK’s current portfolio includes more than £580 million in bilateral aid commitments related to deforestation and biodiversity. An additional £1.3 billion in climate-related programming has recently been announced, which includes a £220 million International Biodiversity Fund to protect endangered species and habitats and a £100 million Biodiverse Landscapes Fund to protect mangroves and forests.

The review will cover the work of three government departments: the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the former Department for International Development (DFID), now part of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

As a full review, it will be scored and will make recommendations for the government.

Read the approach paper.

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