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Budgeting for the Future: Understanding the Allocation of Climate Finance in the Global South

Project description

A closer look at climate funding challenges in the Global South

While wealthy nations produce the majority of global CO2 emissions, the consequences disproportionately affect poorer countries. In response, wealthier nations have committed to fund climate solutions. However, there is limited insight into how these resources are allocated and spent in the Global South. This knowledge gap leaves us unaware of where climate finance can make the most substantial impact. In this context, the ERC-funded ClimateFiGS project will shed light on the utilisation of climate finance in Global South countries. It will take into account leaders’ focus on mitigation versus adaptation. By studying detailed budget allocation in selected African nations, ClimateFiGS addresses the complex challenge of averting the most devastating impacts of climate change.


The impact of climate change on people’s lives and livelihoods is increasingly hard to ignore, and is moreover characterized by trenchant inequities: wealthy countries generate the vast majority of global CO2 emissions, but poor nations overwhelmingly suffer the consequences. In response, wealthy nations have pledged to mobilize US$100 billion annually in “climate finance” to help their more vulnerable counterparts. The past decade has seen climate finance nearly double, but we know very little about what happens when these resources reach their intended beneficiaries in the Global South. As such, we lack information about where and how climate finance can have the greatest impact, and what constitutes the greatest areas of unmet need.

ClimateFiGS develops a new theory to understand the allocation and spending of climate finance within Global South countries. The project considers how leaders’ characteristics, including their gender and age, condition their responses, as well as the relative emphasis they place on mitigation (i.e. risk protection) vs. adaptation (i.e. risk management). This approach recognizes the agency of Global South leaders, and expands the knowledge frontier on substantive representation, distributive politics, and environmental policymaking. ClimateFiGS breaks empirical ground by creating new global data on the mobilization of climate finance, as well as by studying detailed patterns of budget allocation and expenditure in three purposefully selected African countries. The project further adapts methods from social activism to map the power dynamics that drive climate finance decision making within countries, and traces the processes that lead certain sectors and districts to be prioritized. ClimateFiGS is thus poised to generate knowledge to address one of the world’s most “wicked” problems: How can we avert the most devastating impacts of climate change for the world’s most vulnerable?

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 899,00
1012WX Amsterdam

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West-Nederland Noord-Holland Groot-Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 499 899,00

Beneficiaries (1)