This e-discussion draws on UNDP’s work under the CSM and will input to an ongoing study which examines the contribution of climate finance to sustaining peace. The study addresses risks, opportunities and co-benefits of climate finance in conflict-affected and fragile states for peace and stability. At the end of the four week online scoping process, a multi-stakeholder consultation will be held on Zoom; the SparkBlue e-discussions serve to help identify participants for this consultation and collect inputs for the study.

  1. How can climate finance contribute to sustaining peace?
  2. What are good practices on access to and implementation of climate finance in conflict-affected and fragile states? How strong are the peacebuilding outcomes of such projects?
  3. What are the particular bottlenecks to accessing climate financing streams in conflict-affected and fragile states? How can we avoid risks to illicit economies and political settlements?
  4. Are you aware of good climate adaptation projects that have a secondary peacebuilding outcomes? Or peacebuilding projects which strengthen adaptive capacity? How have they avoided maladaptation and/or malmitigation?

Comments (37)

Catherine Wong Moderator

From the high level panel this morning, the role of finance was mentioned by a few of panelists.

AED Valerie Guarnieri shared some interesting figures from a 2019 OECD/INCAF report which I think are quite insightful and useful for framing/scene setting:

- 37 of the 58 fragile contexts had less than 10% of their ODA allocated to climate adaptation objectives in 2016 and 2017

- 45 of the 58 fragile contexts had less than 10% of their ODA allocated to climate mitigation objectives.

- Using the 2016/2017 average, ODA with climate objectives in fragile contexts is split almost equally between mitigation and adaptation, with USD 5.3 billion per year, on average, for adaptation and USD 5.2 billion for mitigation.

- Multilateral ODA for climate change in fragile contexts favours mitigation projects (68%) and is mostly (83%) in the form of loans.

Dima Reda Moderator

Before responding to Catherine’s comment, I wanted to welcome everyone to the e-discussion on Climate finance for sustaining peace. My apologies for being late to start today. I will be your moderator this week until 20 October and am excited to help facilitate our discussions around this topic.

Moving to Catherine’s input from earlier today. The figures provided from the 2019 OECD/INCAF report are a great entry point for our discussion and will be interesting to  dissect and tease-out further. I am particularly surprised by the last bullet that 68% of ODA for fragile countries has been channeled to mitigation and that the funding is mostly (83%) in the form of loans.

UNDP’s ongoing study, for which the discussion over the next several weeks will contribute to, will afford us the opportunity to examine this data in more detail but it does seem that funding climate change adaptation streams may be a missed opportunity in working toward sustaining peace. Particularly, areas that are increasingly vulnerable to climate risk such as food and water security.

What are people’s experience around climate change projects generally in a fragile context (both mitigation and adaptation)? Is it surprising to others that  Multilateral ODA for climate change in fragile contexts favors mitigation and is mostly in the form of loans?

Joe Thwaites Moderator

These datapoints suprised me too. They seem generally in line with the overall skew in climate finance towards mitigation (with only around 27% going to adaptation overall in 2018), so fragile states aren't getting less than the average share of adaptation finance at least. But it does raise the question of why the adaptation needs in these countries aren't getting more priority. One read might be that they are also attracting a lot of infrastructure aid for e.g. energy systems and transport (mitigation), which balances out adaptation flows. Does anyone have any insights on why the breakdown is like this?

We also know investment in these countries is still less overall than needs, so perhaps the bigger question is how should we scale up investments in both mitigaation, adaptation and ensure both are designed to foster human security?

Catherine Wong Moderator

Yes, I would agree too, the split between mitigation and adaptation flows and the mechanisms used (in this case loans) would be important to unpack.

Michael Moroz

While ODA and development flows are a significant factor for climate adaptation (and mitigation) in fragile contexts, we shouldn't overlook the flows that are involved in multi-year humanitarian responses.  In some cases, where response flows have been constant through prolonged and often protracted crises, significant humanitarian funding is put towards resilience.  In cases of addressing environmental damage from conflict, ameliorating poor agricultural infrastructure/waterways/irrigation, implementing independent and local sustainable energy, many interventions seen as humanitarian aid are mitigating climate security risks.  How we identify and map this funding is the challenge - especially when political contexts favor short term responses over longer term solutions for the displaced.

Dima Reda Moderator

Thank you for bringing up this point Michael. The type of funding you have outlined can indeed mitigate climate security risks but will be difficult to trace as they are likely not codified or tagged as such. Maybe mapping out how the broad areas  you've identified (as well as others)  link directly or indirectly to building resilience to climate risks? Does anyone know if this already exists somewhere? Is it something that would be useful to create in the context of our report?

Joe Thwaites Moderator

In terms of tracking, I wonder if this is something the OECD DAC's policy marker system for tagging ODA and other aid flows might be able to help with? Currently there are 13 policy markers, including ones for climate mitigation and adaptation, but none for humanitarian assistance, nor conflict prevention or peacebuilding. The policy markers are in addition to sector tags, which relate to the main purpose of the project (there are sector tags for humanitarian assistance and conflict, peace and security). The idea of policy markers is that it allows tracking of policy objectives that might occur across multiple sectors: for example, a schoolbuilding project might also get tagged with climate mitigation if it also includes solar panels. Projects may be assigned multiple policy markers (which itself has been criticised for the potential for double-counting), so it's possible to run a search for projects pursuing multiple objectives. If the OECD were to create additional markers for humanitarian assistance, conflict prevention, peacebuilding etc., it might be possible to see the extent to which projects address both these objectives and climate ones.

Michael Moroz

[~99180] That's a very interesting point, a "marker" type system is employed in some humanitarian/resilience responses in terms of other programming they want to focus on or "pull out" for analysis or resource mobilization.  The OECD Resilience System Analysis focused on shocks and took into account long-term trends (“stressors”) such as climate, but didn't necessarily have a marker system of analysis for climate,

I'm curious that somewhere between risk analysis that humanitarian actors are increasingly relying on, and reviewing current programming for trend analysis, there would be a way to "mark" programming that is supporting the addressing climate security risk and its funding stream.


Joe Thwaites Moderator

[~84482] Thanks Michael, that's really interesting, wasn't aware of that. I wonder who the best messengers might be to explore whether this might be something the OECD could adopt?

Dima Reda Moderator

Michael's comment above reminded me that Save the Children Australia is the first non-environmental, non-governmental humanitarian organization to be accredited by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) -

This will allow the organization to access climate finance directly on behalf of countries. Given their ability to receive accreditation, they might be a good organization to contact about some of the issues Michael has raised above.

Joe Thwaites Moderator

Indeed, the GCF has been very intentional about seeking out a diverse set of partners to channel money through, and now has 99 accredited entities! These include a the traditional development and climate finance actors, like MDBs and UN organisations, but also national ministries, NGOs, impact investors and commercial banks. There's definitely potential for other humanitarian and peacebuilding NGOs to join Save the Children in getting accredited to the GCF.

Along with the Adaptation Fund, the GCF uses the "direct access" modality which is designed to allow developing country institutions to access funding without having to go through international intermediaries, as is the requirement for most other climate funds. This has the potential to reduce transaction costs and also to allow funding to directly build the capacity of recipient institutions to access other sources of climate finance. Accreditation is a complex process and entities need to demonstrate they can meet certain fiduciary standards and environmental and social safeguards (which get more stringent the more funding and level of project risk the institution is looking to apply for), but the fund provides readiness support to countries to help direct access entities seeking accreditation, so this may be of interest to conflict prevention and peacebuilding organizations that are based in developing countries.

Does anyone know any organisations working on climate and peace that might be interested in GCF accreditation?

Dima Reda Moderator

The GCF recently approved a project in Sudan (August 2020) Building resilience in the face of climate change within traditional rain fed agricultural and pastoral systems in Sudan:…

The project mentions the "enhanced capacity of the state-level administration in areas of environmental governance, management of shared natural resources, inter- and intra-state relations and how to establish a network of early warning systems will help prevent conflicts and out-mitigation in the targeted areas" however, when you examine the theory of change for the project reducing conflict or sustaining peace are not mainstreamed into the overall strategy and rationale of the proposal. 

Do others have examples of where peace building or conflict avoidance is embedded clearly as an outcome of a climate change project?  

Joe Thwaites Moderator

I remember a few years ago an adaptation project in Sri Lanka was up for approval at the GCF, and some board members complained that about some elements of the project proposal because they related to post-conflict reconstruction and were supposedly out of scope. I remember a lot of us felt that was a really unhelpful mindset to take. The project was approved and I can't recall exactly what, if any, changes were made to the project. So not exactly a best practice example, but details are here.

Dima Reda Moderator

Before wrapping up moderation this week, I'd like to return explicitly to the description of this particular e-discussions to seek help in identifying participants for this consultation and to collect inputs for CSM's ongoing study, examining the contribution of climate finance to sustaining peace.

For input, it would be great to have more specific feedback on:

How can climate finance contribute to sustaining peace?

The areas funded by global climate funds (GCF, GEF, AF) such as health, water, and food security, climate resilient infrastructure, and disaster risk reduction can all contribute directly to sustaining peace. 

These links can be drawn out more clearly but will they be if dedicated climate funds do not include a peace sustaining lens? How can we measure contribution if there are no indictors embedded in climate finance frameworks that measure sustaining peace or avoiding conflict? 



Catherine Wong Moderator

As we are talking about climate finance, I think first of all, of the vertical funds.

However, perhaps other projects like the climate security Pacific project led by Kevin Petrini and colleagues supported by the SG's Peacebuilding could offer some interesting insights for us and how it builds/complements on broader climate change efforts in the region.…

Dima Reda Moderator

This is a great idea Catherine - it will be good especially at this stage to broaden our reach to find insights outside of just the vertical funds.

Dima Reda Moderator

Week 1 Summary:

For the first week of discussion a few areas for further discussion have emerged:

  1. The current ODA allocated to climate change objectives in fragile contexts could be further unpacked and disaggregated to better understand the target for these climate funds. Since the amount of funding is small there may be answers as to what the bottlenecks are for accessing climate financing streams in conflict-affected and fragile states.
  2. There is an opportunity to examine humanitarian responses more closely to map ways in which this funding addresses directly or indirectly building resilience to climate risks and whether there is evidence that this funding can contribute to peacebuilding outcomes.
  3. There are a few humanitarian organizations that are directly trying to access climate finance through multilateral climate funds – Save the Children, Australia is one such example. This may be one way to better target peacebuilding outcomes through climate finance in conflict-affected and fragile states.
  4. Even when climate finance is channeled directly to conflict-affected and fragile states – at least within the context of climate-funds – sustaining peace is not usually emphasized as part of the rationale of the proposal. Is this something that is necessary to ensure peacebuilding outcomes?

There are many questions still left for discussion over the next couple of weeks. Through these discussions we are hoping to find new audiences and stakeholders who can provide inputs and insight into this particular work stream.

As we move forward with these discussions – any good climate adaptation projects that have secondary peacebuilding outcomes or peacebuilding projects which strengthen adaptive capacity could provide insight of key actors we could reach out to for our final multi-stakeholder consultation.

Looking forward to continuing our discussion over the next few weeks.

Joe Thwaites Moderator

Thank you Dima Reda for moderating last week! I will be moderating the discussion this week, until 27th October, and am looking forward to continuing the dialogues.

A lot of my graduate studies focused on the climate and human security nexus, and since then I've worked on climate finance for World Resources Institute so am excited at the opportunity to explore the intersections between these topics!

I'll pick up your key points in each the of the existing threads. Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts.

Catherine Wong Moderator

Really looking forward to your insights, Joe Thwaites as you have both the climate security and finance pieces.

Karolina Eklöw

Dima, thank you for a great summary! 

Dima Reda Moderator

Thank you for sharing this  study.  The recommendation on the need for better accounting for climate finance links  to what  Joe Thwaites  highlighted above about OECD DAC's policy marker system for tagging ODA.  

It also offers some insight into our earlier discussion as to why there may be more climate finance counted as mitigation and in the form of loans (p. 7 examples of efficient coal power and non-concessional loans for building a hotel being counted as climate finance). 

Joe Thwaites Moderator

[~99179] Pleased to see other people have been reading the Oxfam report, which has a lot of useful insights.

One finding that is more positive is that LDCs and SIDS are getting a higher share of adaptation finance compared to other countries (around 40% compared to 25% overall), and yet from the OECD/INCAF report we see that fragile states are getting a lower share than this.

At COP 26 countries in the UNFCCC will start negotiating a new goal, beyond the $100bn, and the idea of rather than having a single goal, having sub-goals has been floated. The idea for a sub-goal for adaptation finance is already gaining traction, and I wonder if there's a way to ensure this takes account of conflict, peacebuilding and human security? There's a risk that having too many goals pulls funding too many directions and can make them all impossible to meet, but goals do focus minds and can be an effective way of ramping up funding to specific objectives. Does anyone have views on what approaches might be effective for ensuring these considerations get taken into account?

Tatiana Botelho

Hello, I recently worked in a GCF proposal for an adaptation project.  I was impressed by the data requirements in terms to historical trends (30 years) and granularity (location to meteorological stations) were requested.  I was wondering if you think that could be a barrier for more unstable or conflict states where such data would not be feasible.  


Dima Reda Moderator

Tatiana Botelho - thank you for bringing this up. This is absolutely a major barrier for conflict states. I have also had a similar experience working on a GCF proposal for a small island state and we have had a difficult time trying to convince the GCF that certain data just does not exist. It has been a serious bottleneck to getting much needed funding to the country. 

Tatiana Botelho

[~99179], Maybe to unlock climate funding for conflict states a protocol needs to be established on data requirements.  This way the financiers feel comfortable that it is an adaptation project, but the proposing agencies don't have to collect costly (and maybe risky) data. 

Dima Reda Moderator

[~99423] vey good idea - something like an overarching methodology for developing a climate rationale for adaptation in conflict states taking into account the particular difficulties of collecting data/non-existence of certain historical data. 

The GCF does use WMO's Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems as the basis for their reviews of CIEWS proposals (…) so the GCF might be open to something specific designed to support the implementation of climate finance in conflict-affected and fragile states.

Joe Thwaites Moderator

[~99179] Really glad you raised this Tatiana. One of the things the GCF and other climate funds grapple with is how to strike the right balance between demonstrating that a project is sufficiently climate-focused to justify climate funding while not having burdensome requirements that can be barriers to capacity-constrained countries who are the most in need of support. The 30 year historical data requirement is a notorious example of where a well-meaning requirement for establishing climate baselines imposes an unreasonable barrier for many countries. In some places this data simply isn't available, while in others it can be expensive to access and collate, especially for a project proposal that may never even get funded. In our work with the GCF we've suggested the need for flexibility in how requirements are applied, as well as more capacity building support.

Underlying such data requirements is a tendency among some funders to try to clearly separate adaptation finance from development finance, out of a desire to ensure that scarce climate funding isn't going to "business as usual" projects. My colleagues have argued that this is a false dichotomy and instead "adaptation is about doing development differently in response to climate change." While they don't focus on fragile states specifically, many of the insights seem relevant.

There's also a tension between the desire to ensure specific priorities get sufficient and additional funding (be it climate, conflict prevention etc.), and the need to mainstream these considerations within all development financing. In response to new or under-served needs, development finance actors develop specific targets, tracking systems or special requirements for accessing funding, yet this often results in siloing and duplication of efforts. Is anyone aware of best practices for how to manage this tension between targeting and mainstreaming?

Karolina Eklöw

Agreeing with all previous speakers that this is a super relevant to bring up! As has been alluded to by Joe and Dima, it seems that there must be other ways to guarantee, emphasise or motivate the climate sensitivity from other angles than meteorological stats. 

Joe Thwaites Moderator

Week 2 Summary:

Here were some of the key themes to come out of this week as well as some questions arising from these:

  1. Whether and what types of ODA tracking system might help us better understand the ways in which climate finance is allocated in conflict-affected states and towards peacebuilding objectives. The latest climate finance analysis from Oxfam highlights some of the issues with climate finance reporting systems writ large, which raises the question: can existing marker systems do the job, or are new ones needed?
  2. How specialist climate funds like the GCF can better partner with humanitarian actors on projects that focus on conflict, peace and security. What types of organisations might be good candidates for partnerships?
  3. The barriers to fragile states accessing climate finance, since data requested for establishing climate rationale can be costly and in some cases non-existent. What methodologies might help, and what flexibility might be needed?
  4. The continued search for good examples of where climate finance projects have integrated peacebuilding or conflict prevention. There are examples of where decision makers in climate funds have raised objections about this since they see this as beyond the mandate. Is there a way to mainstream conflict, peace and security considerations while ensuring funding continues to target climate objectives?

In addition, while a lot of discussion focused on climate-specific multilateral funds, there's also a need to look for insights from bilateral financing and South-South cooperation.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the discussion continues over the next couple of weeks and look forward to staying involved. It would be really helpful to hear examples and insights for how climate finance institutions and researchers can better bring a human security/conflict lens to their work, as well as influence strategies for how to bring about necessary reforms.

Catherine Wong Moderator

Thanks Joe for your incredible contributions! We look forward to you joining us for next steps in the study and the Zoom consultation.

Diane Sheinberg Moderator

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening!

I will be your moderator for this new phase of this conversation. Thanks again Dima Reda and Joe Thwaites for sharing your expertise with us over the past two weeks. I am coming from the peacebuilding community and work for the SG Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). In our portfolio, we are increasingly investing in the climate security and peacebuilding nexus. PBF invested approximately $63.4M through 29 projects in 20
countries towards climate security. See attached brief for an outline of such examples. 

To deepen the conversation on climate finance, I would love to hear from you and colleagues on any interesting projects, partnerships or collaboration between United Nations with civil society organizations in accessing and implementing climate finance projects with either a conflict prevention or peacebuilding lens. What are some of the challenges in implementing such projects? How did you go about to develop a sound conflict analysis including climate-related risks to ensure a sound programmatic response linking climate adaptation to peacebuilding?   

Looking forward to your feedback and examples!


Matti Lehtonen Moderator

As we reach the final week of these e-discussions, I thank Diane and other previous moderators and those who have so far provided inputs to the discussion as I take the baton for moderating. I am Matti Lehtonen, UNEP Coordination Officer in New York and part of the Climate Security Mechanism which is a joint DPPA, UNDP and UNEP venture.

It is interesting to see that there have been very concrete examples in particular responding to question 3 on bottlenecks to accessing climate financing. One comment was that post-conflict reconstruction was judged to be out of scope. Another specific point was about data requirements in terms to historical trends (30 years) and granularity (location to meteorological stations) – which is extremely difficult in typical contexts of sustaining peace.

The ensuing discussion then noted that there is a tension between targeting and mainstreaming – ensuring specific priorities (such as sustaining peace or climate) get sufficient funding/attention vs. not creating false dichotomies but considering such priorities integrally. Which brings it to the territory of questions 1 and 4 on ‘how can climate finance contribute to sustaining peace?’ and on projects with co-benefits going across the areas of climate and sustaining peace.

It is indeed a good question if considerations of human, social, economic dimensions – or sustaining peace – are ‘out of scope’ for climate/environmental financing or if frameworks exist for factoring in such structures and incentives which can affect the outcomes. I can think of an example where decades of planting trees has not stopping deforestation – but the good news is that if people have fruit trees and access to markets, there is no incentive to cut down trees for firewood.

Catherine Wong Moderator

A great point about what is or is not considered "out of scope", [~99178].

I think UNEP's climate security project funded by EU, offers an interesting case in point of how to break these funding silos.

It would be great to hear the lessons learnt in terms of unlocking finance.


Matti Lehtonen Moderator

True that the mentioned UNEP project has produced guidance documents to help thinking through and articulating the connections between climate change adaptation, sustaining peace and sustainable livelihoods. Not about financing per se but the Guidance Note provides insights on how to ask more systematically the kinds of questions that otherwise will be implicit assumptions on human, social, financial or physical dimensions of resilience when designing proposals for funding. Indicators of these complex co-benefits can also be hard to pin down but are an important feature which the Monitoring and Evaluation note addresses

From the perspective of climate financing, hopefully such guidance can contribute to project design that provides a rationale for stronger and more sustainable results – and is not considered ‘out of scope’ as in the earlier example shared.

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