Development cooperation by industrialized countries is an important avenue for helping developing countries to manage the risks of climate change. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that aid-funded projects and programmes are designed with full consideration of climate risks, so that they are robust to future climate changes, reduce vulnerability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sweden has made efforts to “climate-proof” its development cooperation and to “mainstream” climate change within it, but what has that meant in practice? This policy brief, the first in a series on the Nordic countries produced as part of a NORD-STAR research project, examines that question.

In mainstreaming climate change, a donor country’s policy design and funding choices will determine how deeply climate change is integrated into official development assistance (ODA) and how easily climate and development aid can be distinguished. Sweden has embarked on a path of full integration, blurring the lines between climate and development finance.

The authors find that although Sweden’s ambitions at the political level to integrate climate change considerations throughout its development portfolio have been made clear, this high-level message does not translate into concrete guidance for the staff of the Swedish development agency (Sida).

They also note that it is unclear what is included in Sweden’s definition of “climate finance”. Through Sweden’s Special Climate Change Initiative, 1.2 billion USD has been made available for climate change activities through both bilateral and multilateral channels. Because Sweden’s climate finance is reported as ODA, however, the concern arises that this may not be “new and additional” as agreed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Download the brief (PDF, 1.8MB)