Sweden’s commitment to aligning development co-operation with international climate and environment commitments is shown in the vast amount of international agreements and pledges to which it has committed. Some of them include the High Ambition Coalition and the Leaders Pledge for Nature. In addition, The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDS)’s Instruction by the Swedish government explicitly spells out that environment and climate change should permeate all Swedish development co-operation. 

In June 2017, the Director General of Sida decided on an Environmental Action Plan for 2017-2020. The plan has been extended until 2021 and a new plan is currently under development. The current plan builds on the Environment Policy and is a central part of the environmental management system. The plan describes what should be achieved, when and by whom. 

On a central level, Sida should by 2020 (see also Table 1, Chapter 5.3): 

  • increase the share of funding with environment as a principal objective (the main objective) from 11% (2016) to 15% (2020) and environment as a significant objective from 32% (2016) to 45% (2020) 

  • increase the share of funding to climate change (“climate financing”) to 28 %.

  • increase the share of funding where biodiversity is a principal objective to 4% and biodiversity as significant objective to 15%.

  • increase the number of guarantees where environment is a principal objective to eight guarantees, with a volume of at least SEK 3 billion. 

Moreover, an environmental (including climate) analysis should be included as a prerequisite in routines and guidelines for the development of strategies and their operationalisation. This should then also be translated into the operational planning of the “strategy owners”. Adequate environment/climate assessment should also be made for all contributions during planning, appraisal and performance monitoring. As described in the Green Toolbox, the environmental assessment should include an analysis of and measures to manage: 

  • the opportunities for the project/programme to enhance environmental sustainability (including climate change mitigation and adaptation) 

  • the risks from the project/programme in the environment/climate (safeguard, or “do no harm” dimension)

  • the risks from climate change/environmental degradation on the project/programme. 

A new plan is under development, and from 2022-24, Sida’s Operational Plan will integrate environment and climate change into goals for planning and implementation.  

The objective of Swedish international development co-operation is to create opportunities for people living in poverty and under oppression to improve their living conditions.  

The Swedish Development Policy Framework presents the direction of Swedish development co-operation and humanitarian assistance and identifies how Sweden can best contribute to achieving these objectives. Sweden’s development co-operation shall be characterised by two overarching perspectives: the perspective of poor people on development; and the rights-based perspective. These two perspectives shall be integrated throughout Sweden’s development co-operation. In addition to these two overarching perspectives, the Policy Framework also highlights three thematic perspectives: a conflict perspective; a gender perspective; and an environmental and climate perspective. Together these five perspectives are tools for identifying and managing conflicting objectives and for promoting synergies between different thematic areas of development co-operation. They shall also be integrated in decision-making, planning, implementation and in the follow-up of operations.  

In addition, the government’s instruction describes on an overall level how Sida should perform its work, for instance how Sida should assist the Swedish government, which organisations the agency should co-operate with and how it should organise its work in partner countries. Under §2, it is stated that Sida shall integrate environment and climate change in its operations. 

Specific strategies provide more comprehensive instructions to Sida's work and define priorities, goals, targets, etc. in different geographical contexts (countries, regions, as well as at the global level) and fields of work. They are proposed by Sida to the Swedish government, which then decides upon them. The strategies are usually valid for a period of five years. They either have a geographic or thematic focus, such as human rights, democracy and rule of law as well as sustainable economic development and environmental sustainability, sustainable climate and oceans, and sustainable use of natural resources. As mentioned above, the guidelines strongly emphasise that Swedish development co-operation shall be based on three thematic (or crosscutting) perspectives, e.g. a gender perspective, an environmental and climate perspective and a conflict perspective, and that all perspectives should be integrated into decision making, planning, implementation and follow-up of the Swedish development co-operation. Thus, all bilateral, regional, global as well as thematic strategies must integrate environmental and climate issues even though a strategy itself may not directly address these sectors.

Sida has developed an environmental policy as a part of its environmental management system, with clear objectives and targets for environmental integration, which takes into account both direct as well as indirect environmental impacts in a systematic manner. Sida’s Environment policy was decided by Sida´s Director General in June 2017, as mentioned above. The policy outlines:  

  • actions committed to Sida to protect the environment and proactively promote a transformation to an environmentally sustainable development by integrating environmental aspects in all operations and sectors

  • Sida’s modus operandi on how environmental work within long-term development co-operation and humanitarian support will be undertaken in its operations

  • how Sida’s direct negative environmental impacts shall decrease continuously, with sustained efforts for a greener office and a specific focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from travel. 

Environmental management systems are used to systematise and rationalise the environmental performance of an organisation. This yields constant improvements and gradually reduces the overall environmental impact of an organisation. The Swedish government decided in 1996 that government agencies were to implement an environmental management system (EMS) with annual reports on progress made. Environmental management systems are intended to help Sweden achieve its national environmental quality objectives by integrating environmental consideration into all government activities: 

  • government proposals, decisions and action  

  • in conjunction with procurement and other exercises of government authority  

  • in the government administration’s own activities. 

Over the last five to six years, Sida has developed a comprehensive approach to integrating environment and climate change in its development co-operation with guiding documents (Green Toolbox) and instructions (Statistical Handbook).  

At the strategic level, Sida developed  a new framework for poverty analysis, the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Analysis (MDPA) in 2017. The aim of the MDPA is to contribute to a shared and deeper understanding of multi-dimensional poverty, better knowledge about how Sida’s operations affect people living in poverty and better operational decisions that reflect the perspective of people living in poverty. The MDPA includes an assessment of the environmental context, trends and their consequences on people living in poverty. 

The Environmental Management System is closely integrated with Sida´s internal system for contribution management, Trac (Tool for Results management and Appraisal of Contribution). Trac is an information technology (IT) application meant to guide users through the contribution management process and provide support and guidance for assessments and documentation. Trac is based on and follows the Rule for Managing Contributions, which aims to ensure legitimate, efficient, coherent and results-based management of contributions. The term contribution is an umbrella term that refers to activities that are financed by Sida, with the purpose of contributing to the objectives decided by the Government in its strategies for development co-operation currently in force.  

Sida uses OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) sector codes to categorise interventions. Sida also uses 11 OECD DAC policy markers to track its contributions to specific policy objectives, whereof 5 specifically target environment: the 4 Rio Markers for desertification, biodiversity, climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation, and the policy marker for environment.  

In Sida, the programme officer applies the DAC environment policy marker (as well as the Rio Markers) once a new programme is agreed. The agency’s statistics team goes through all new programmes on a weekly basis, checking the programme descriptions and, when needed, programme documentation to ensure that the marker score is correct. Should any questions arise, the statistics team liaises directly with the programme officer using the Statistical Handbook as the basis. Ahead of the annual reporting to the OECD, additional spot-checks are undertaken. The agency also organises trainings for staff around the DAC markers, including around why reporting is helpful and important. This approach allows for correct reporting but also for dialogue and awareness-raising around the environment and climate markers and around environment and climate more broadly within Sida. 

The Environment and Climate Change Perspective is integrated in the whole process of implementation and follow-up of programmes and projects.  

In the letter of appropriation for 2020, Sida was instructed by the Government to analyse how aid could be even more in line with the Paris Agreement. Sida conducted an in-depth analysis. Part of the in-depth analysis included undertaking an overview of targeted climate programmes (Contributions marked with a “2” for environment or climate). This exercise showed that Sida is working in a transformative manner and contributes to the necessary transition. Activities not only avoid "do no harm" but also contribute positively to a systematic shift towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, support climate adaptation and a climate-resilient development.   

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Climate Promise: This initiative aims to support at least 100 countries in undertaking an inclusive and transparent process to revise and submit enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Building on UNDP’s extensive climate and sustainable development portfolio and partnerships with the United Nations (UN), the NDC Partnership, coalitions, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), the private sector, academia and civil society organisations (CSOs), the initiative will provide technical and financial support to help countries take bold action to reduce their emissions, increase their resilience to climate impacts and support sustainable development priorities. 

  • UNDP and Stockholm+50: The overall objective of this initiative is to help at least 100 countries move from commitment to action and scale up support around the themes of the Stockholm+50 meeting. This will be done through a whole-of-society and whole-of government approach building on existing engagement processes, including those established through UNDP’s Climate Promise with Swedish support for NDCs. Although the focus of the platforms will go beyond climate change, UNDP will help leverage the NDCs, which reflect prioritised sovereign plans for investment in areas relevant to the meeting, including energy, nature-based solutions, forests, agriculture, transportation, and green and circular economy. 

  • Sustainable Colombia-Inter-American Development Bank (IDB): This initiative supports the establishment of the Sustainable Colombia Facility, which is a multi-trust fund of support projects and programmes aimed at maximising the environmental, economic and social dividends of peace in Colombia, primarily in territories at the intersection of armed conflict incidence, strategic areas for sustainable rural development and environmental conservation. The Facility is expected to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Colombia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The Facility will address four main challenges that are inter-related: 1) deforestation and loss of natural capital; 2) rural poverty and territorial development; 3) low local capacity and lack of co-ordination; and 4) climate change challenges. The IDB, which leads the Facility and manages all contributions from the different donors (USD 100 million from Norway, USD 5 million from Switzerland and USD 5 million from Sweden, as of November 2017), as well as the loan offered to the Colombian government to act as the Fund’s counterpart.  

  • Global Capacity-Building Programme, Sustainable Cities: This global capacity-building programme takes its starting point in the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and the Aichi targets in the Convention for Biological Diversity. The overall objective of the programme is an improved institutional capacity for climate mitigation and adaptation, particularly benefitting poor and vulnerable people. Through this contribution, Sida will support innovative methods for collaboration between Swedish authorities and their counterparts in four African countries. The global programme will contribute to strengthening the institutional capacity of government agencies and institutions, with a focus on their national transparency systems and NDCs under the Paris Agreement. It will also contribute to increasing the institutional capacity regarding processes for inclusive urban planning with an ecosystem perspective and based on the rule of law. The programme will contribute to strengthening the administrations’ capacity on good governance. It includes both climate mitigation and adaptation. 

In the Sida Environmental Policy (2020), transformation is called for in the following way, “proactively promote a transformation to an environmentally sustainable development by integration environmental aspects in all operations and sectors.” The following directions are pointed out in the policy: climate change adaptation and mitigation; sustainable use of natural resources, secure biodiversity and ecosystem services; reduced pollution; and the promotion of circular economy.  

The main government agency responsible for the implementation of bilateral, regional, and thematic strategies is Sida. In bilateral strategies, the Swedish government sets goals for the bilateral co-operation with a specific country. In most bilateral countries, the goals include climate and or environmental issues. The focus of these goals varies between contexts.  

The Swedish government presented the Policy Framework for Swedish Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance in 2016. One of the main thematic areas is environmentally and climate-related sustainable development and sustainable use of natural resources. The long-term policy direction for this thematic area is quite broad and includes providing support to low- and middle-income countries’ accession to and implementation of commitments under international environment and climate conventions, as well as to provide support to countries in implementing their NDCs under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 

When applicable, Sweden supports the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investments and that all infrastructure investments should be in support of and consistent with the transition to environmentally sustainable, low-emissions and climate-resilient development pathways in partner countries.  

  • World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP): Sida supports the strategic partnership ESMAP to bring about broad change at scale by focusing on much-needed environmentally sustainable energy solutions. The programme is characterised by all four criteria for what could be considered Paris Agreement-aligned: transformative, catalytic, supportive and responding. ESMAP helps to create the sustainable energy system of the future. This, among other things, occurs via support of national reform processes to create incentives for investment in renewable energy; reforms to integrate solar and wind power into national electricity grids; the development of electrification plans for both network connections and local solutions; processes for introducing clean/improved stoves; mapping and analysis of partner countries' potential for renewable energy, etc. The work on reform processes is complicated and often politically sensitive, but it is, at the same time, critical to achieving change. 

  • Support to Rwanda’s National Fund for Environment (FONERWA): FONERWA is Rwanda’s national Fund for Environment and Climate Change. Set up in 2012, the Fund aims to mobilise domestic and international climate finance, and secure sustainable financing to support projects that contribute to environmental sustainability, resilience to climate change and green growth. The Fund is open to line ministries and districts, civil society organisations, private entities and research institutions. The intervention aims at an overall level of support for FONERWA, to contribute to such that Rwanda's economic growth is environmentally sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient and contributes to wealth creation and poverty reduction; that adaptive capacity of communities is increased; and vulnerability to climate change is reduced. Sweden will contribute to the following expected outcomes of the intervention: sustainable and equitable finance supports national programmes and private initiatives to address climate and environment priorities; skills acquired by national stakeholders and CSOs, in particular applied in the design of project proposals; bankable projects developed and approved for funding by the FONERWA board; and completed projects, successfully implemented and lessons learned shared.  

  • Energy Efficiency, the green economic development project with UNDP: Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most energy-inefficient countries, as it lacks a systematic approach, available financial mechanisms and allocation of investments into energy efficiency and the utilisation of renewables. Sweden’s intervention is supplementary to the ongoing five-year (2014-18) UNDP Green Economic Development (GED) project, which aims to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Environmental Protection Funds in institutionalising energy management and decision-making processes of energy efficiency investments, as well as in establishing sustainable financial mechanisms for the implementation of energy efficiency projects within Bosnia and Herzegovina’s public sector. The GED Project will help Bosnia and Herzegovina meet its energy-related obligations under multilateral agreements (Energy Charter Treaty [ECT], United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCC]), and support it in complying with the European Union’s directives for energy efficiency and approximation of the EU environmental acquis. 

  • Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) (global): Sida supports the IGE programme, contributing to a transformation shift towards an inclusive green economy in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The programme builds on the participating countries’ own current work on inclusive green economy and focuses on enhancing governmental capacities to successfully combine environmentally friendly and economically successful policies. Activities include sharpening present policy and practice instruments, such as taxes, fees, pollution charges, green investments and subsidies. Participants include senior civil servants in government, high-level policy and decision makers as well as academics and civil society representatives. After the end of the programme, participants will be accredited IGE fellows, with a regional network to share best practices and the possibility of training colleagues in the successful implementation of IGE practices. 

  • Local Government Initiative on Climate Change (LoGIC), Bangladesh: This project’s goal is improved and inclusive local-level planning and a strengthened financing mechanism for community-based climate change adaptation solutions through local governments. The project is expected to result in: 1) strengthened capacity of local governments, households and other local stakeholders to develop local plans that integrate climate change adaptation measures and disaster risk management; 2) established financing mechanism to fund local governments and communities to implement climate change adaptation measures; and 3) experience and evidence to inform and contribute to further improvements in policies and practices for Union Parishads and national systems in relation to climate change adaptation. 

  • Blue Action Fund: The Fund provides grants to selected conservation projects in marine protected areas (MPAs) and their buffer zones, targeting the most sensitive coastal waters of Africa, Latin America and the Asia Pacific, and focusing on projects with measurable outcomes in two areas: 1) newly established or better managed MPAs or networks of MPAs that result in biodiversity conservation; 2) enhanced livelihood conditions and food security. Through ecosystem-based adaptation, the Fund helps in reducing or avoiding climate change impacts. 

Sweden’s approach to addressing the needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is outlined in the Strategy for Sweden’s Regional Development Co-operation in Asia and the Pacific Region 2016-2021. One example of engagement is the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme, 2017-2023 (PEUMP). PEUMP’s overall objective is to improve the economic, social and environmental benefits for 15  Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group through stronger regional integration and the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment. The purpose of the programme is to support improved sustainable management and development of fisheries for food security and economic growth, while addressing climate change and conservation of marine biodiversity. 

Sweden did not report activities in this area.

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