Swedish and international climate finance

Key facts, figures and concerns

Sweden is one of the largest providers of international climate finance in relative terms. In 2021, the government announced a doubling of climate finance until 2025, compared to 2019 levels. Members of CONCORD Sweden have generally welcomed these promises, not least because of the increasing needs for support to adaptation in the most affected countries. At the same time, concerns have been raised that the climate finance is not additional to the budget for international aid.

While the international commitments regarding official development assistance (ODA) and climate finance are separate, in policies and practice they overlap. In the political debate in Sweden, ‘climate finance’ and ‘climate aid’ are largely used interchangeably, and most political parties promise more climate focus in their international development policies. At the same time, the longstanding goal of providing 1% of Sweden’s gross national income for international development cooperation is being threatened, explicitly by some parties and indirectly by others through excessive deductions for in-donor country refugee costs. Increasing volumes of climate finance must be additional to ODA and not divert resources from other pressing development objectives.

Internationally, many aspects of climate finance are debated, including the failures to deliver on promised amounts, as well as who has access to the funds, on what conditions and how they are reported. The imbalance between finance for mitigation and adaptation, lack of commitments on loss and damage finance, and finance through loans rather than grants are concerns frequently raised. Sweden delivers climate finance through both bilateral and multilateral channels, and these concerns apply to both to varying degrees. In addition, the scattered information and complicated reporting make both commitments and implementation difficult to follow up and scrutinise.

Purpose of the brief

Swedish civil society interacts with decision makers to promote high levels and high quality of both ODA and climate finance. In this work, clarity on the facts and figures is an important asset for advocates seeking to understand Swedish climate finance policies. This brief intends to give an accessible overview of the commitments, status and challenges of climate finance, both internationally and in Sweden.