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Climate Finance: The Sahel is Not Part of the Problem, but is Part of the Solution

To increase low-carbon pathways in the Sahel, the UN and national partners need to create the conditions and capacity for climate financing


Our research shows that implementing the Sahel countries and their littoral neighbours’ climate finance ambitions to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change is estimated to cost an estimated USD 305 billion towards 2030. However, while commitments made by the regions’ own national governments amount to just USD 26 billion, commitments by Western donors and international financial institutions reached just USD 23.5 billion between 2015 and 2019. This leaves a staggering 85 per cent gap (USD 279 billion) in financing the green transition in the Sahel and broader West African region towards 2030.

Thus, to create low-carbon pathways, climate finance received in the region will need to grow exponentially. While the Sahel region account for less than 1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and are among the world’s most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, they received only 4 per cent of global climate financing between 2015 and 2019.

Source: This graphic was developed by OAM consult based on OECD DAC climate-related development finance statistics, 2021.


The good news is that levels of climate finance to the region have increased exponentially between 2015 and 2019 (from USD 3 billion per year to USD 5.5 billion per year, see figure above). These levels are projected to further increase, as most bilateral and multilateral development actors are growing their shares of finance earmarked for climate adaptation and mitigation. To accelerate climate finance to the region, the UN, donors and international financial institutions needs to work with national authorities and partners to create the conditions and absorptive capacity for the required financing.

Snapshot: Overview of climate finance modalities

i. Unconditional national budgets under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs);

ii. Bilateral overseas development assistance (e.g., earmarked ODA from bilateral donors);

iii. Multi-donor international funds (e.g., earmarked ODA through multilateral development banks);

iv. International investment funds (e.g., GFC);

v. Carbon markets (e.g., clean development mechanisms (CDM) or voluntary carbon markets);

vi. Private sector (e.g., small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs));

vii. Private foundations (e.g., Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).




Date - 12 May - 2023


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