Denmark has just adopted a new development strategy, which has the following vision for Danish development co-operation: “A more secure and sustainable world free from poverty, based on international binding co-operation as well as just and resilient societies that fight inequality and create hope and future opportunities for the individual, with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement as beacons.”

To take the lead on the fight to stop climate change and restore balance to the planet is at the core of the strategy and allocations for a green transition, climate adaptation, nature and environment are being up-scaled. COVID-19 recovery and its links to a green transition building back better and greener is an integral part of the strategy. The Danish approach was developed in a co-ordinated Nordic approach to Build Back Better and Greener.

The Danish government has decided that 30% of Danish official development assistance (ODA) for developing countries will be allocated to green initiatives, of which 25% will be allocated to climate and 5% to biodiversity. Of the climate allocations, at least 60% will be allocated for adaptation.

The Danish approach to development co-operation and climate action is outlined in two main strategies: the New Danish Strategy for Development Co-operation and the Danish Global Climate Action Strategy.

The New Danish Strategy for Development Co-operation has the fight for climate, nature and environment as a top priority, with four specific objectives:

  • strengthening action to support climate change adaptation, nature, the environment and resilience in the poorest and most vulnerable countries

  • assuming international leadership within reductions, green transition, and access to clean energy

  • increasing mobilisation of finance and promoting green Danish solutions within climate, nature and the environment

  • creating hope and prospects for the future through green and socially just economic recovery and poverty-oriented development.

The strategy is underpinned by emphasising the need for strong partnerships, including public-private partnerships.

In 2020, the Danish government's long-term Global Climate Action Strategy was published presenting the strategic framework for Denmark’s climate diplomacy efforts, divided into the following aims:

  • Raising global climate ambitions: Through negotiations in the United Nations (UN) and stronger climate diplomacy efforts, the Government will work to influence countries and non-state actors to commit to ambitious goals that contribute to limiting the global temperature rise. Denmark will work to ensure an ambitious effort for climate adaptation and resilience, as well as for sustainable development. This will be done via the European Union and in alliance and collaboration with countries and non-state actors.

  • Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by leading the way in the green transition: Denmark will work to put the green transition into practice, with a focus on ensuring the world’s largest emitters reduce their emissions and on supporting sustainable development in developing countries.

  • Driving adaptation and resilience initiatives in the fight against climate change: The Government wants to use its position as a green pioneer country internationally to inspire and drive adaptation and resilience initiatives in the climate fight, both through development co-operation and export promotion efforts. The Government wants Danish development co-operation to embrace far higher climate ambitions, with a stronger focus on adaptation and sustainable development in the poorest and most fragile developing countries, where more people must have access to clean energy and clean water. Through its export promotion efforts, the Government will advocate for the global spread of Danish solutions for climate adaptation and resilience.

  • Shifting global finance flows in a green direction: Massive investment is needed to speed up the green transition. The Government will work to accelerate a shift to green, climate-friendly investments at all levels and country groups. The framework conditions for the financial markets and, for example, the energy market must be designed to support green investment by private and institutional investors and funds. There is also a need to strengthen the mobilisation of climate financing for the poorest and most fragile countries. The Government will take the lead in efforts to incorporate the green transition in recovery packages after COVID-19, both globally and through the European Union.

  • Collaborating with the business community on green solutions that make a difference: In Denmark, benefits arise from strong co-operation between public authorities and businesses. This great strength must be valued and upheld. A successful global climate effort must include businesses and ensure that Danish solutions deliver for both Danes and people around the world.

The overall ambition is to make the two strategies mutually supportive.

Danish development co-operation is underpinned by a series of supporting documents, of which the Aid Management Guidelines are key.

Currently, implementation notes and tools for the greening of Danish development co-operation in line with the priorities of the new Strategy for Development Co-operation are being developed.

Across Danish development assistance there is an increased focus on the monitoring of results in both bilateral and multilateral engagements, including through evaluations, to increase learning.

Denmark has a variety of instruments and programmes that support countries’ national transition strategies. A few examples are listed below to illustrate that Denmark is supporting countries’ strategies to a large extent through multilateral institutions and funds. Denmark is aiming to increase synergies between bilateral and multilateral programmes to maximise impact and avoid duplication. Partnerships, including with private sector actors is also central to Danish development co-operation. Finally, ODA-funded interventions and programmes are underpinned and supported by a strengthened climate diplomacy at country level as well as internationally.

See examples of Denmark’s bilateral and multilateral engagements below.

The overall ambition of both the new Strategy for Development Co-operation and the Global Climate Action Strategy is to ensure that all programmes and interventions support transitions promoting just, sustainable, net-zero, climate-resilient, and inclusive development pathways, leaving none behind.

Denmark is primarily supporting infrastructure through multilateral organisations and banks that meet the G20 principles. All new supported partners have environmental and social safeguards assessed according to the Danish Aid Management Guidelines.

Denmark is promoting all investment through partner organisations to be aligned with the Paris Agreement and support a low-carbon development (see the Danish Global Climate Action Strategy).

Finally, Denmark has a dedicated programme, “Danida Sustainable Infrastructure Finance”, which aims at green transition and to promote water and sanitation in developing countries.

Denmark has a variety of bilateral and multilateral programmes supporting green transition. Some examples include:

  • Denmark has supported specific Nordic and World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) initiatives on water and energy, focusing on Building Back Better and Greener in partner countries, as well as other COVID-19 initiatives, such as additional funding for African Guarantee Funds green window that provide guarantees for financing institutions for green small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • Strategic Green Co-operation Agreements with four emerging markets.

  • Government-to-government sector co-operation on energy, water, environment and cities with 18 countries.

  • Bilateral programmes to increase access to energy, water and job creation.

  • A variety of multilateral programmes of international organisations, such as the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the NDC Partnership, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Energy Agency (IEA), C40 Cities, the Nordic Development Fund, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Sustainable Energy Fund (SEFA), the NAMA Facility, the Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa, EnDev Kenya, etc.

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 Leadership that includes a variety of interventions on SDG 7 targets on energy access and energy transition.

  • Collaboration focussing on mobilising climate finance via the Climate Investment Platform (CIP), the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU).

  • A partnership agreement with civil society organisations.

In support of the Paris Agreement, the new Danish Strategy for Development Co-operation has a focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the most vulnerable and fragile countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This also includes Danish priorities for the major climate and environmental funds and programmes.

Examples of programmes in support of SIDS are:

  • IRENA’s SIDS Lighthouse Programme

  • Danish contribution to the GCF

  • Danish contribution to the NDC Partnership

  • Danish support of ESMAP’s SIDS-DOCK Trust Fund

  • Call for proposals for SIDS by the Climate Investment Platform.

Denmark did not report activities in this area.

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