Climate change and development organisations warn aid cuts risk undermining UK’s credibility and poorer countries’ ability to adapt to climate change

Ahead of the upcoming Climate and Development Ministerial, set to bring countries together to discuss measures for implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, UK NGOs and climate groups are calling on the UK government to “honour the UK’s legally binding commitment to 0.7% of GNI for aid.”

The organisations say the move to reduce Official Development Assistance from 0.7% to 0.5% of Britain’s gross national income “will inevitably harm the most vulnerable in society, pushing huge numbers back into poverty” and will “undermine the UK’s credibility as hosts of the Climate and Development Ministerial, G7, and COP26.”

In a letter addressed to the joint hosts of the Climate and Development Ministerial, Alok Sharma COP26 President Designate and Secretary of State Dominic Raab, the organisations, including Greenpeace, Christian Aid and WaterAid, call on the UK government to:

Honour the UK’s legally binding commitment to 0.7% of GNI for aid; an election manifesto promise of this government, and a prerequisite for solidarity with those most vulnerable.

Appoint a loss and damage champion and develop a clear strategy to ensure action on loss and damage is delivered at COP26, in recognition of the suffering being caused by climate change impacts right now.

Support the UN Secretary General’s call for all countries and multilateral development banks to commit to allocating at least half of their climate finance to adaptation by COP26.

Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, Rebecca Newsom, said:

“From more frequent and severe flooding, to rising sea levels, droughts and wildfires worldwide – it’s clear the world’s poorest countries need more support in the face of the climate crisis, not less. As hosts of this this year’s global climate summit, the UK should be bolstering support for those worst affected by climate change, not denying it. If the government is to live up to its self-proclaimed title of ‘climate leader’ these cuts need to be immediately reversed, as well as increase climate finance for adaptation and champion action to address loss and damage. It’s not just our credibility and diplomacy at stake, but the lives of millions of people on the front line of a crisis they did little to create.”

Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, chief executive of Christian Aid, said:

“In the year of COP26, as host and a significant emitter, all eyes are on the UK to lead the world in stepping up ambition on climate action. Vulnerable communities on the front line of a climate emergency they did not cause need financial support. If the UK is to deliver a successful climate summit, then this week’s meeting must restore the much needed aid, ensure that debts are cancelled and commit the finance needed to help poorer nations adapt to a changing climate.”

The letter concludes: “Now is not the time for the UK to renege on its promises to the most vulnerable, but to redouble efforts and to lead from the front on commitments to leave no one behind.”

The letter comes as MPs, climate campaigners and NGOs have said that the government’s aid cut announcement is at odds with the government’s climate ambition.


Notes to Editor

  1. For further information or interviews please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]
  2. The Climate and Development Ministerial takes place on the 31st of March. The event brings together countries and partners to discuss the challenges and priorities for implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in the countries most vulnerable to climate change.
  3. The full text from the letter can be found here.