In order to address the research gaps on climate finance dynamics in developing countries, especially those with low governance scores, this study assesses the 2016–2020 bilateral climate finance to these countries. The total disbursed bilateral climate finance was US$1.3 billion (92 percent for mitigation, 7 percent for adaptation, and 1 percent for mitigation and adaptation simultaneously). Development-focused loans were the prevailing financial instrument cumulatively, and grants were the prevailing instrument on a per-country level. Japan was the biggest provider of bilateral climate finance (US$1 billion) to fund Uzbekistan’s natural gas-fired electric power plants.

All major bilateral climate finance providers ranked high on governance scores compared to the ten examined countries. Countries examined in this study will need to receive higher amounts of bilateral climate change finance in order to improve their readiness to address this issue and reduce their vulnerability to climate change impacts.

In this study, data on bilateral climate finance was sourced from Aid Atlas for ten selected countries with low governance scores – 1) North Korea, 2) Syria, 3) Equatorial Guinea, 4) Turkmenistan, 5) Eritrea, 6) Libya, 7) Yemen, 8) Tajikistan, 9) Chad, and 10) Uzbekistan. According to Aid Atlas, Japan was found to be the most significant bilateral climate finance provider to these countries.