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International Development: Sustainable Initiatives

Published Friday, October 25, 2019

This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared ahead of a debate due to take place on 4 November 2019 on the motion moved by Lord McInnes of Kilwinning (Conservative) that “this House takes note of Her Majesty’s Government’s international development work to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and prevent biodiversity loss”.

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The UK primarily achieves its promotion of sustainable environmental initiatives through International Climate Finance (ICF). ICF is jointly funded by the Department for International Development, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Schemes supported by UK International Climate Finance include:

  • The Green Climate Fund, which supports programmes to preserve natural habitats;
  • The Darwin Initiative, which helps to protect biodiversity globally; and
  • The Clean Technology Fund, which finances large-scale technologies, like solar power.

At the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September 2019, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would double the UK’s international climate finance spend. A press release published by the Department for International Development on 23 September 2019 stated that “the UK will up its ICF support to at least £11.6bn over the next five years, between 2021/2 to 2025/6 […] this significant uplift in UK aid support will held developing countries pursue low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable development”.

In a report published in April 2019, the House of Commons International Development Committee reviewed the Government’s use of aid to combat climate change around the world. The report stated that “the UK has historically shown leadership in advancing both the climate change and sustainable development agendas” but that “there does not appear to be an active strategy underpinning the Government’s International Climate Finance spending”. The report goes on to say that “currently, the support provided to the fossil fuel economy in developing countries by UK Export Finance is damaging the coherence of the Government’s approach to combating climate change”. The committee announced a follow up to its inquiry on 5 September 2019.

The UK is due to hold the UN’s climate change conference, the Conference of the Parties (COP26), in Glasgow in November 2020.

Lords Library notes LLN-2019-0143

Author: Sally Dray

Topic: International development

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