European Commission

The European Commission is firmly committed to the integration of environment and climate change in its development co-operation and international partnerships policy. This commitment is found at the highest level and stems from the EU Treaty (see Art. 11 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) that specifies that “Environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of the Union's policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development.”

The European Union is firmly committed to contributing to international pledges to step up climate and biodiversity finance to developing countries.

Over the period 2014-20, the European Commission has met its commitment to allocate 20% of its spending to climate-related action, having dedicated around 21% of the budget managed by the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA) to climate action, corresponding to EUR 12.14 billion (of which 21% contributed to mitigation, 37% to adaptation and 42% to both mitigation and adaptation). The European Commission also achieved the doubling of biodiversity finance, thus complying with the objective established by the international community during the Hyderabad Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Looking forward, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-27 has established as a target to dedicate at least 30% of the EU budget and Next Generation EU expenditures to support climate objectives. It also specifies an ambition to dedicate 7.5% of annual spending under the MFF in 2024 and 10% in 2026 and 2027 to biodiversity objectives, including international co-operation funding.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, in her State of the Union Address to the European Parliament of September 2021, proposed an additional EUR 4 billion for climate finance until 2027, contributing to the commitment made by the major economies to provide at least USD 100 billion per year to the least developed and most vulnerable countries. This additional commitment to climate finance will imply contributions higher than the 30% indicated in the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument regulation. President Von der Leyen also made a pledge to double the EU’s external funding for biodiversity, in particular for the most vulnerable countries. These new commitments for 2021-27 significantly raise the EU ambition on climate and biodiversity finance to partner countries, reflecting the urgency called upon by the scientific community to address the climate and biodiversity crises and the ambition of the European Green Deal.

In the context of development co-operation, the objective of integrating environment and climate is reflected in the European Consensus on Development “Our world, our dignity, our future”, where the European Union and its member states promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and promote the “5 Ps” (Poverty, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership) – “In addition to dedicated actions, environmental considerations need to be integrated across all sectors of development co-operation, including through preventive action.”

The European Green Deal reaffirmed the European Union’s ambitions on climate and the environment. The European Green Deal is Europe’s structural response and new growth strategy that sets out ambitions to transform the European Union into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where: there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050; economic growth is decoupled from resource use; natural capital is protected, sustainably managed and restored; the health and well-being of citizens is protected from environment-related risks and impacts; no person and no place is left behind. Mainstreaming environmental sustainability in all EU policies and actions is a central element of the Green Deal, which includes the green oath to “do no harm”.

The Green Deal has a strong international dimension; it recognises that its environmental ambition will not be achieved by Europe acting alone and states that the European Union will use its influence, expertise and financial resources to mobilise its neighbours and partners to join it on a sustainable path. It commits the European Union to continue leading international efforts and to build alliances with the like-minded and to promote and implement ambitious environment, climate and energy policies across the world. Under the Green Deal, the European Union will develop a stronger “green deal diplomacy” focused on convincing and supporting others to take on their share of promoting more sustainable development. By setting a credible example and following up with diplomacy, trade policy, development support and other external policies, the European Union can be an effective advocate. Under the Paris Agreement, the European Union will engage more intensely with all partners to increase the collective effort and help them to revise and implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and devise ambitious long-term strategies. These efforts will build on the European Union’s own increased ambition. The European Union will step up bilateral engagement with partner countries and, where necessary, establish innovative forms of engagement.

The European Green Deal covers a number of transformative areas, including pollution, biodiversity, food systems, sustainable mobility, clean energy and circular economy. A number of policies and action plans stem from it, including the Farm-to-Fork Strategy, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Zero-Pollution Action Plan and the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030. Although these strategies and action plans mainly focus on the EU level, they also have either an external co-operation component or implications for EU development co-operation.

The new Global Europe development and international co-operation financial instrument, which covers the period 2021-27 (Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument [NDICI] Regulation) and a total budget of EUR 79.5 billion, reflects the international ambition of the Green Deal. It includes the obligation to mainstream the fight against climate change and environmental protection and to favour adherence to the Paris Agreement and the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. It specifies, in particular, that funding allocated to international co-operation should be coherent with the long-term temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. It should also be coherent with the objective to increase the ability to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and foster climate resilience, with particular attention to actions that create co-benefits and meet multiple objectives, including for climate, biodiversity and the environment. The NDICI Regulation (Art. 29) also excludes from support those actions and measures that are incompatible with the beneficiary country’s NDC, that promote investments in fossil fuels, or that cause significant adverse impacts on the environment and climate. In this last case, activities and measures can only be justified if imperative to the NDICI objectives and if accompanied by appropriate impact avoidance and mitigation measures.

In addition to the Global Europe Instrument, the EU Instrument for Pre-Accession 3 (IPA3) focuses on the Western Balkans and Turkey. Apart from targeting green actions, the IPA3 programming framework promotes the enhanced mainstreaming of climate change and environment actions. The crosscutting nature of environment and climate change is also reflected in the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, especially in relation to key sectors of the Green Deal, such as energy, mobility, circular economy, pollution, food systems and biodiversity.

As outlined above, the EU founding Treaties, the European Consensus on Development, international commitments, the European Green Deal and a range of policy and regulatory documents frame EU efforts to systematically mainstream environmental and climate change objectives in EU development co-operation and international partnerships.

The European Green Deal commits the European Union to ensuring a “do no harm” approach and to greening its policies, actions and budget process. Under its Sustainable Finance Strategy, the European Union is examining how to make sustainability considerations an integral part of its financial policy in order to support the European Green Deal.

Mainstreaming has also been a central element of the European Union’s successive environment action programmes, including the proposal for the 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP) published in October 2020. The 8th EAP highlights the need to support the global projection of the EAP objectives, in particular regarding engaging with partner countries on climate and environmental actions, enhancing co-operation with governments, businesses and civil society in third countries and international organisations to form partnerships and alliances for environmental protection and promoting environmental co-operation; and strengthening the implementation of the Rio conventions and strengthening international environmental governance.

Over the past 15 years, the European Commission’s INTPA has deployed a comprehensive set of operational tools to ensure the integration of environment and climate change in its development co-operation, which are embedded in the different stages of the programme cycle (programming-formulation-implementation-monitoring and evaluation). As part of their mandate, two thematic units promote the integration of environment (F2) and climate change (F1), as well as providing technical assistance to staff in Headquarters and EU delegations to this effect. They are supported by a technical assistance facility (the Environment and Climate Change Mainstreaming Facility, or “Greening Facility”), which has been operational since 2015.

The Greening Facility provides support in: 1) communication and awareness raising; 2) capacity development; 3) helpdesk services; 4) systematic review of documents; 5) tracking and analysis of financial contributions to environment, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the Rio themes; and 6) preparation of guidance material.

Included in this support is a continual capacity development programme on “Greening EU Development Co-operation”, currently on offer in an online format due to travel restrictions, but face-to-face trainings are expected to resume in the near future. “Greening EU Development Co-operation” modules are also part of the trainings for newcomers (on Integrated Cycle Management and Context for Development).

Another area to highlight is the systematic quality control for the integration of environment and climate change throughout the cycle of operations. All key documents are reviewed, and support is provided to enhance the alignment to environment and climate objectives, as well as maximise contributions to their expenditure targets. Key documents that are reviewed on a systematic basis include the Multi-annual Indicative Programmes (MIP) (setting up the objectives and approach to development co-operation for the whole MFF period, by country, region and theme); Annual Action Programmes (AAP) (indicating the actions that will be formulated during the year); and Action Documents (AD) (project design documents). In addition to commenting on opportunities to enhance their environment and climate performance, the review of Action Documents also validates the use of the Rio Markers so as to ensure a rigorous tracking of financial contributions.

In the context of investments (blended finance and guarantees), the thematic units also review applications from financial institutions, with the same objective of maximising opportunities of contributing to environment and climate objectives, and minimising adverse impacts on the environment. Whenever necessary, dialogue is established with the financial institutions and relevant EU delegations in order to ensure the sustainability of the investments supported by the European Union.

For programming, a key tool for environment and climate change mainstreaming is the Country Environmental Profile (CEP), which provides an overview of key environment and climate issues in a country (including in relation to its policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks), of past development co-operation support in these areas and targeted recommendations to better integrate environment and climate change in the country programming.

All actions have to be screened for their Environment and Climate Risk, and a justified decision made on the need for a more detailed analysis in the form of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and/or a Climate Risk Assessment (CRA). SEA, EIA and CRA are three key tools available to better address environmental and climate risks and opportunities. The results of the screening process are spelled out in the Action Documents. SEAs are particularly relevant in the context of sector budget support, or when providing broad strategic-level support to a specific sector. The EIA screening and requirements are aligned to those of the EU EIA Directive, while the CRA requirements can be addressed as part of an EIA.

The screening process, description of the above tools and broader guidance for the integration of environment and climate change are provided in the guidelines, Integrating the Environment and Climate Change into EU International Co-operation and Development (2016). The guidelines cover the whole cycle of operations, from programming to evaluation; provide the environment and climate change screening as well as sample terms of reference for CEPs, SEAs, EIAs and CRAs. They also provide guidance on indicators, the use of the environment and Rio Markers and for mainstreaming during the design of an action (even when no dedicated tool is required). In the case of SEA, a short guidance document is available to help colleagues in EU delegations design an SEA: Strategic Environmental Assessment in EU Development Co-operation: A Handful of Tips to Get it Right!

For most EU-supported projects, however, an EIA or a CRA is not required. Nevertheless, the screening process itself provides elements for the integration of environment and climate change considerations through a “green lens” approach.

Other guidance material is available by sector in the form of Quick Tips documents and Sector Notes. The Quick Tips are short documents that provide concise practical advice on how to enhance environment and climate change performance in different sectors;1 the Quick Tips documents are accompanied by an annex that provides guidance on sector activities that can qualify for a Rio Marker. Sector Notes provide more detailed mainstreaming guidelines for a specific sector along the cycle of operations.2

Inspirational material has also been prepared to help colleagues make a case for environment and climate change mainstreaming. These include a number of Case Studies as well as Transformational Change Stories. All the guidance material is available on the capacity4dev platform (public group on Environment, Climate Change and Green Economy).

Environment and climate change integration are also reflected during monitoring and evaluation. Several tools are available to this effect.

The European Commission closely monitors its climate- and biodiversity-related spending and regularly reports on its progress against international commitments and the above-mentioned targets, through its reporting to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC), the Secretariats of the Conventions (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], Convention on Biological Diversity [CBD]) and its regular reporting on budget execution.

The Risk Management Framework (RMF) is a tool that was formerly applied to budget support operations, giving an idea of the risks to such operations in the short term. Recently, however, the RMF tool has been revised to make it applicable across the different aid modalities. The RMF+ is to be used in the monitoring and management of risks associated with EU external actions in partner countries, notably the implementation of programming documents, and is meant to also inform policy dialogue. The revision of the RMF integrates new Commission priorities (green deal, sustainable finance, inclusive growth, migration partnerships); covers dimensions important for new financial instruments/monitoring investment climate;; provides a better follow-up of mitigating measures by linking to EU political and policy dialogue priorities and integration into INTPA decision making; and makes a systematic link to international indicators and EU analytical tools. Environment and climate change issues are reflected not only as a stand-alone risk category, but also in a crosscutting manner in other risk categories (e.g. political system, growth and jobs).

Environment and climate change are also reflected in the programming indicators for NDICI 2021-27 (as per the Programming Guidelines) and the EU Results Management Framework. The programming indicators include nine indicators in relation to the “Green Deal Alliances” strategic priority, as well as a green dimension in relation to the indicators on “Alliances for Sustainable Growth and Jobs” (on green jobs), and indicators under the “Governance, Peace and Security, Human Development” strategic priority (on access to water and sanitation).

The Revised EU International Co-operation and Development Results Framework includes Level 1 and 2 results statements and indicators related to each of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as Level 3 indicators that include one on share of EU-funded international co-operation and development assistance contributing to the different Rio themes (i.e. biodiversity, combating desertification, climate change adaptation and mitigation) as well as to environmental protection.

All actions that require an EIA must also produce an Environmental Management Plan, which must be reflected in the monitoring and evaluation for the project. This is also applicable to investment projects, in which case the monitoring is done under the environment and social safeguards of the lead financial institution.

INTPA also undertakes a regular (so far biennial) assessment of the quality of environment and climate change integration in EU development co-operation programmes and projects. In addition, it does an annual analysis of the financial contributions to environment, DRR and the Rio themes. On the basis of these analyses, lessons are drawn for the improvement of environment and climate change integration.

In order to promote ownership by partner countries and aid effectiveness, the European Commission seeks to align its support to partner countries with their national development plans or similar overarching policies, when these policies are in line with key international commitments, notably on climate change and environment and consistent with EU values. The Commission also seeks to support the sectoral policies and plans in the priority areas of its partnerships with partner countries, including through sector support programmes.

The European Union supports global responses to tackle global challenges such as inequalities, poverty reduction, malnutrition, climate change, environment crisis, ocean issues, and migration and forced displacement, and promoting digital transformation, human development as well as an inclusive and equitable transition to sustainable, inclusive and fair, green economies.

Where possible, the Commission uses budget support modalities, key to strengthening national institutional capacity and which can be considered as the ultimate form of alignment with national policies and systems that makes full use of the partner country’s public financial management systems. The European Union is the world’s top provider of budget support, which is central to its international co-operation. In 2020, budget support disbursements amounted to EUR 3 billion and accounted for 24% of EU external assistance. It involves direct financial transfers to the national treasury of partner countries engaging in sustainable development reforms. These transfers are conditional on policy dialogue, performance assessment and capacity building. EU budget support promotes progress towards all 17 SDGs. Further information and data on how these operations contribute, notably to SDG 12 (on sustainable consumption and production), 13 (on climate change), 14 (on life below water) and 15 (on life on land) can be found in the report, Budget Support – Trends and Results 2021.

In a complementary manner, the European Commission provides support to partner countries to strengthen the design and implementation of national climate- and environment-related policies and plans, in particular the NDCs on climate change, the Long Term Strategies (LTS), the National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPAs) and the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP).

The European Union also supports partner countries in enhancing the integration of environment and climate change in relevant national, sectoral, or local policies and plans, guided by the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, the Sendai Framework, the new European Consensus on Development, and the European Green Deal (EU GD) adopted in 2019. The European Union provides support for climate action to developing countries through its flagship initiative, the Global Climate Change Alliance+ (GCCA+). Implementation of NDCs in line with the Paris Agreement continues to be the framework for action; the different sectors covered (agriculture, forestry, energy, coastal zone management, landscape approach, etc.) reflect the crosscutting nature of NDCs and climate action.

The combined impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have been especially strong on food security and nutrition. Contributing to the achievement of SDG 2 and SDG 12, EU interventions have been instrumental in improving sustainable production and agricultural practices. In order to support innovation for farming system management, 19 DeSIRA (Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture initiative) projects were signed in 2020. EU budget support incentivised diversified agricultural production and better nutritional support for 55 000 rural families in Bolivia and Honduras, while contributing to raising the value of the dairy market in Nepal by 21%. In the meantime, preparations kicked off for the UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) planned in September 2021.

Sustainable energy plays a key role in the external dimension of the Green Deal. During 2020, EU co-operation with the African Union Commission made a crucial contribution to the elaboration of the African Single Electricity Market proposal for establishing an integrated continental electricity market that can benefit people and economies in Africa.

  • The European Union has been financing the UN Poverty and Environment Action for the SDGs and its predecessor, the Poverty and Environment Initiative, which focus on deepening and broadening poverty-environment mainstreaming and aligning finance and investment with poverty, environment and climate objectives.

  • The EU Global Climate Change Alliance supports climate action – both adaptation and mitigation – in partner countries, including the mainstreaming of climate objectives in national policies and budgetary systems.

  • The recently established EU Global Support Facility for Nationally Determined Contributions )(EU NDCs Facility) will deliver high-level technical assistance and policy advice at the country, regional and global levels to support the design, update and implementation of partner countries’ NDCs, LTSs and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) in the context of the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda.

  • Support to the Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) launched by the NDC Partnership: The European Union directly assisted six developing partner countries through the Energy Technical Assistance Facility in the revision of their NDCs with a view to raising their ambition.

  • The UNDP Climate Promise and the NDC Support Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and financed by the European Union in its context: INTPA funds EUR 6.9 million to support NDC implementation in 22 developing countries over the period 2020-22.

  • The Copernicus Infrastructure and Services: The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) supports society by providing authoritative information about the past, present and future climate of the world. The C3S mission offers free and open access to climate data in support of evidence-based policies and action.

  • The project, Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA) (Directorate-General for Climate Action [DG CLIMA] and Service for Foreign Policy Instruments [FPI], 2018-21, EUR 20 million): This project supports the European Union's international climate leadership by mobilising European know-how to support peer-to-peer learning with non-EU G20 countries in meeting the NDCs as part of their commitments to the Paris Agreement.

In the context of the broader efforts to support sustainable development and poverty eradication, the European Commission supports partner countries to enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation (SDG 13) to preserve their environment and biodiversity and sustainably manage natural resources both on land (SDG 15) and in the ocean (SDG 14). The European Union aims to support transformative action in a number of areas that are central to the transition to climate-neutral, resource-efficient economies and to achieving the SDGs, notably: clean energy and energy efficiency, sustainable agri-food systems, green and circular economy, smart and green cities and sustainable mobility.

As described in previous sections, the main policy documents that frame EU action in these areas are the European Consensus on Development, the European Green Deal and its strategies and Action Plans on Climate Change, Biodiversity 2030, Farm to Fork, Circular Economy, Energy and Connectivity, which all include an external dimension and international commitments.

The European Union supports the transition to low-carbon green and circular economies, both through dedicated programmes and mainstreaming across all relevant sectors of EU co-operation. This support to partner countries aims to: 1) develop enabling policy and regulatory frameworks, investment climates and business environments; 2) support green business development and green skills; and 3) enhance access to finance and green investments.

Through its external action, the European Union promotes risk-informed and climate-proofed investments, particularly on infrastructure and nature-based solutions, as well as the use of innovative mechanisms for disaster risk analysis and financing. Integration of disaster risk and prevention in urban planning and expansion will be an important area of action in this sense. Investments will complement EU actions on other aspects of resilience, such as fragility, food security, and health and give special attention to vulnerable groups and community mobilisation.

For the European Commission, the quality of investments is as important as the quantity. This is why it is important to strengthen engagement with international partners and promote the use of multilateral tools, such as the multilateral development bank’s platform SOURCE, among others, to jointly improve project preparation, expenditure efficiency and capacity development towards quality infrastructure that contributes to the green transition. In particular, through the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD+), it provides technical assistance to support capacity building in the public sector and to help prepare credible pipelines and implement resilient infrastructure projects.

Co-operation in the context of the G20 agenda on quality infrastructure is an EU priority to boost the connectivity agenda. This G20 agenda is fundamental to develop a common vision, in particular with countries like the People’s Republic of China and India. The European Union actively promotes the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investments, in particular through projects funded under its external instruments. Current work on indicators, resilience and maintenance and on digital infrastructure should contribute to agreeing internationally on common standards related to infrastructure projects. This work includes Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations, which are fundamental for sustainability and thus need to be fully addressed during programming and implementation of all new connectivity investments. Hence, the European Union is promoting tools to create common norms and languages (standardisation, taxonomy, development and metrics).

  • The Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) is a European Union flagship initiative that is helping the world's most vulnerable countries to address climate change. Having started with just 4 pilot projects in 2008, it has become a major climate initiative that has funded over 80 projects of national, regional and worldwide scope, supporting climate-resilient low-carbon development in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

  • The EU Switch to Green initiative aims to facilitate the transition to inclusive low-carbon green and circular economies that generates growth, creates decent jobs, and helps reduce poverty while reducing environmental impact. It includes a number of projects and regional programmes, including the SWITCH-Asia programme, the SwitchMed programme and the SWITCH Africa Green programme. The Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in March 2020 strengthened the European Union’s ambition to further engage with partner countries to promote a circular economy. New actions include the SWITCH to Circular Economy Value Chains project, the Eco Business Fund Africa and the Green Economy Dialogues.

  • The EUROCLIMA+ Programme of the European Commission is actively engaging with 18 Latin American countries to help implement commitments taken in the context of the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement and other multilateral agreements. Launched in 2017, the programme brings European expertise to bear on some of the most pressing climate challenges faced by the region.

  • The EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) aims at contributing to halting biodiversity loss and deliver on the European Union's commitments by fully integrating biodiversity and ecosystem conservation with socio-economic development and poverty eradication through an innovative and crosscutting approach. B4Life operates in three priority areas: 1) good governance for sustainable management of natural resources; 2) ecosystem conservation for food security and sustainable rural development; 3) ecosystem-based solutions towards a green economy. In addition, it includes a specific window to address the wildlife crisis linked to increasing illegal trafficking.

EU co-operation addresses the particular needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), taking into account common challenges such as small populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, dependence on international trade and fragile environments. Bilateral co-operation focuses on supporting countries in reaching their NDCs, notably their ambitious renewable energy targets. Regional support focuses in general on regional economic integration, natural resources management, good governance and climate change.

The SIDS in the Pacific and the Caribbean and the European Union share a common ambition of achieving a low-carbon and resilient future by 2050. Attaining this objective requires ambitious and comprehensive actions across a wide range of sectors and policies, public and private investments, as well as the creation of incentives for governments, local communities and the private sector to act and deliver on the climate, environmental, economic and democratic challenges of the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Green and Blue Growth is and will remain a long-term priority for SIDS. The European Union supports actions that have the potential to create opportunities for income, jobs and growth, while at the same time contributing to climate and environmental goals as well as economic diversification and resilience. This can be achieved, for example, by promoting sustainable agri-food systems, eco-tourism, circular economy, green technologies and digitalisation such as e-commerce, digital finance and other digital solutions, as well as other economic activities that contribute to the greening/blueing of the economy. There are accompanying measures as well to improve the business and investment environment and to support the development of new skills needed in a sustainable economy, including by providing access to such new skills through training and knowledge for young people.

The development of the private sector, in particular of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), continues to be constrained by unsuitable regulatory frameworks and the lack of access to finance. Promoting an inclusive business environment that encourages investment, entrepreneurship and the economic empowerment of women and other vulnerable groups facilitates private sector growth, job creation, productivity and higher incomes, but also increased tax revenues, thus contributing to inclusive socio-economic development. Emerging digital technologies also offer new opportunities for economies to grow. Investing in strategic connectivity partnerships and promoting the EU approach to digital co-operation can support the participation of SIDS in the digital economy, which can further boost their productivity and competitiveness and enhance market participation, resulting in poverty reduction, improved livelihoods and economic growth.

  • The EU GCCA+ flagship initiative helps the world’s most vulnerable countries to address climate change. At its inception, the GCCA focused on building climate resilience in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and SIDS. It expanded then in 2015 to include middle-income countries. Working with SIDS has resulted in strengthening their resilience to the impacts of climate change. The GCCA+ approach encompasses the many possible adaptation options for SIDS. In addition to its ground-level work, GCCA+ promotes stronger institutions, policy and regulations. For example, engineering projects can focus on stronger sea defences, hurricane-resistant buildings and the provision of water storage. Other projects focus on legislative changes, such as revising building codes, improving land zoning near coasts and rivers, and updating water policies. Technological solutions include research and improving crop resilience. GCCA+ projects take into account solutions to reduce the constraints SIDS face that can limit their options and their implementation, such as inadequate data and technical capacity, weak human and institutional capacity and limited financial resources.

  • The GCCA+ initiative for climate adaptation and resilience building in Samoa (EUR 1 144 000) is implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The overall objective is to contribute to promoting the sustainable use of Samoa's marine resources while increasing the climate resilience of local communities. The specific objective is to support ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) at local and central levels by implementing a Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and strengthening community engagement in climate actions. This action will help build climate resilience in the marine environment by protecting the marine ecosystem goods and services that benefit local communities and the society of Samoa. The local people and economy of Samoa will benefit through more efficient and effective processes and practices in addressing climate-related challenges in the sustainable management of Samoa’s ocean. The Government of Samoa will also achieve several international and national commitments.

The EU has substantial cooperation programmes with a large number of SIDS in the Caribbean and the Pacific, both at country level and at sub-regional level. Support to climate change adaptation is an important element of many of these partnerships. In addition, the EU has established a Pacific Investment Facility and a Caribbean Investment Facility, which aim at enhancing sustainable investments in those regions, using EU ODA to leverage public and private investment. One example of initiative financed under these facilities is the Fund, which aims to promote business and consumption practices that contribute to biodiversity conservation, to the sustainable use of natural resources and to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts the Caribbean.


← 1. Currently available for the following sectors: digitalisation; disaster risk reduction; education; energy; green cities; green mobility; infrastructure; private sector development and trade; sustainable food systems; water resources management; and water and sanitation, in addition to one on project and office management.

← 2. Available for the following sectors: energy; agriculture, food security and rural development; social protection; and water and sanitation.

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