Climate change challenges for EU development co-operation: emerging issues

By Leo Peskett, Natasha Grist, Merylyn Hedger, Tessa Lennartz-Walker and Imme Scholz

Working Paper No. 3 - January 2009

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Developing countries are expected to be most severely affected by the impacts of climate change, in terms of physical impacts such as increased severity of droughts and floods and in terms of potential adverse effects of policy measures taken by developed countries to mitigate climate change, such as the promotion of biofuels. The task of factoring these implications into development co-operation is proving far from straightforward and it poses new problems for the development co-operation agenda.

The European Union (EU) is widely regarded as the world leader in taking action to combat climate change, both through the implementation of domestic policy measures and through pushing policy processes at the international level. Since 1998 it has also been developing policies to deal with the linkages between climate change and development co-operation, reflected in the EU Action Plan on Climate Change and Development (2004) and more recent initiatives such as the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) and the Climate Change and Energy Package currently under discussion.

This paper reviews that main policy processes that have been developed within the EU for addressing climate change in the context of development co-operation. It then looks at progress within the EU in terms of three of the main challenges that climate change poses to development co-operation, including:

1.   How to bridge the large gap in funding climate change response efforts in developing countries;

2.   How to ensure well coordinated, complementary and coherent efforts between different donors and between climate change and development policy processes; and

3.   How to ‘mainstream’ climate change into development co-operation in the EU.

These questions are now at the top of both the international climate change and development agendas, and significant progress will be required in the lead up to the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, where a new global deal on climate change needs to be agreed. The paper concludes with a summary of some of the further issues that need to be resolved, especially as regards:

1.   The suitability of different financing options in terms of meeting the needs of developing countries and domestic interests;

2.   The added value of the European Commission’s (EC) own initiatives compared to other options, including those of the Member States;

3.   The role of development co-operation vis-à-vis new emerging funding mechanisms under the UNFCCC; and

4.   What the options are for more quickly building on progress in mainstreaming climate change in the context of new aid modalities and within other sectoral European policy areas.

The paper is the first in a series of outputs on climate change and development co-operation in the EDC2020 project, which will look in more depth at these issues.