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SEI working paper

Climate finance in the Caribbean region’s small island developing states

The Caribbean region’s small island developing states (SIDS) face considerable threats from climate change, and considerable costs to cope with and adapt to climate impacts that exceed their financial capacity.

Aaron Atteridge, Georgia Savvidou, Nella Canales / Published on 20 September 2017

Atteridge, A., Canales, N. and Savvidou, G. (2017). Climate finance in the Caribbean region’s Small Island Developing States. SEI Working Paper 2017-08. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm.

Aerial view over a small town nestled beneath two sharp mountains and the blue ocean.

View of Gros Piton and Petit Piton, St Lucia. Photo credit: Jason Boldero / Flickr

This paper analyses climate finance flows to Caribbean SIDS, using data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS). It shows that a total of US$ 1477 million in climate finance – flows labelled as principally targeting climate change – was committed to Caribbean SIDS in 2010–2015, about 6% of total reported aid flows to the region.

Video: Aaron Atteridge explains climate finance in the Eastern Caribbean SIDS

Only 15 of the 29 countries covered by the analysis directly received climate finance, although others may have received funds as part of a regional allocation. About 62% of the finance has been provided as grants, with the other 38% being loans. Around 48% of the climate finance is for mitigation activities, 32% for adaptation, and 20% for both together. The vast majority of finance, 85%, came from bilateral sources. About 77% was delivered as project-based support. The sector that has received the largest share of climate finance is “general environment protection”, while some sectors that are likely to be critical for long-term resilience, such as health and education, have not received any climate finance. This suggests that countries may be finding it difficult to align available climate funds with complementary development priorities.

Finally, the analysis shows that disbursements of climate finance in 2010–2015 represent only 39% of total commitments in the same period. Overall, the data reveals some important patterns in the way climate finance is being allocated and used in the Caribbean and provides a basis for deeper assessment of how climate finance is working for the region’s small island states. Beyond this, it is important to further examine how climate finance is working on the ground, and what kinds of outcomes it is producing for Caribbean communities.

Read the working paper (PDF: 8MB)

Read a policy brief summarizing the findings specifically for the small islands of the Eastern Caribbean (PDF:3.6MB)


SEI authors

Georgia Savvidou
Georgia Savvidou

Research Associate

SEI Headquarters

Nella Canales
Nella Canales

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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