Climate funds need to prioritise local action

IIED urges G20 review to put local communities at heart of reform plan.

Press release, 17 June 2024

A G20 review of the world’s biggest multilateral ‘green funds’ needs to ensure locally-led climate action is central to any reform plan.

The organisation’s Sustainable Finance Working Group, under Brazil’s presidency of the G20, wants to make it easier for countries from the global South to access climate finance.

Its focus is on four main funds: the Green Climate Fund, the Climate Investment Funds, the Adaptation Fund and the Global Environment Facility.

The flow of finance to the local level from these funds – and climate finance more broadly – remains worryingly low, representing a significant barrier to effective climate action.

In contributing to the review process, IIED is proposing four actions the climate funds can take.  

  1. There needs to be a fundamental shift in mindset to recognise the pivotal role of local communities and Indigenous Peoples in adaptation and conservation, including a clear commitment to prioritise local-level action
  2. The application process needs to be simplified, with technical support being offered to help community-based organisations access funds
  3. There needs to be flexible approaches that allow for bottom-up, devolved decision-making and community-driven solutions, and
  4. The funds need to provide long-term, patient, predictable resources to support sustained climate action, rather than short-term, project-based funding.

A brief summary of IIED’s contribution has been published today.

IIED senior researcher Pia Treichel said: “Local communities are on the front line of the climate crisis – particularly those in low-income countries. They’re also critical to how we take action and adapt because they’re best placed to know what’s needed in their local areas.

“Yet despite their vulnerabilities, local communities are not getting the resources they need to respond to the climate crisis.

“Too little money is making it to the front line.  

“This is not a new challenge – and the big climate funds are well aware of it. Hopefully the G20 review process can help build momentum for change.”  

In delivering IIED’s 2024 Barbara Ward Lecture, the executive director of the Green Climate Fund, Mafalda Duarte, highlighted the need to simplify access to international finance, through a focus on “the poor and most vulnerable”.

For more information or to request an interview, contact Simon Cullen: 
+44 7503 643332 or [email protected]