Position Paper
Aid, Environment and Climate Change

This position paper on Aid, Environment, and Climate Change, prepared under the UNU-WIDER ReCom programme of Research (Re) and Communication (Com) on foreign aid, is intended to improve the understanding of the role foreign aid has played and can help play in local and global environmental issues. The paper lays out the challenges brought on by climate change and the ‘public good’ nature of the environment, the existing responses to the challenges in the aid context, and suggestions for future directions for aid and research efforts in the task of helping developing countries in the mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its impacts.A first draft of this position paper was originally prepared by UNU-WIDER to serve as an input to the ReCom results meeting on ‘Aid and Our Changing Environment’ held at Sida Headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden on 4 June 2013. It has since been revised and updated based on the deliberations at the results meeting and new research inputs. The position paper builds in particular on:

  • More than 30 background papers prepared for ReCom by members of UNU-WIDER’s global network, including a range of leading specialists in the aid area from both developing and developed countries;
  • Four of these background papers were prepared by DIIS;
  • Papers prepared for the UNU-WIDER conference on Climate Change and Development Policy, held in Helsinki on 28-29 September 2012;
  • Existing research already published in a variety of forms reviewed under the ReCom programme;
  • Research outputs by UNU-WIDER staff; and
  • Comments received at the results meeting and other inputs and comments received since this document was put in the public domain, including a series of detailed observations by Danida.

Background papers and other outputs from the ReCom programme on which this position paper builds can be found through the ReCom website http://www.wider.unu.edu/recom, as well as the attached list of references. Materials from the 4 June results meeting in Stockholm are also presented on the ReCom website.

The theme leaders for the final ReCom position paper on the Aid, Environment, and Climate Change are UNU-WIDER External Project Director Channing Arndt of University of Copenhagen and Professor Finn Tarp, Director of UNU-WIDER. Other UNU-WIDER contributors include Tony Addison, Yongfu Huang, Heidi Kaila, Aziz Karimov, Lena Lindbjerg Sperling, James Thurlow, Roger Williamson, and Tuuli Ylinen. They have collaborated with the UNU-WIDER communication and position paper production support team consisting of: Kennedy Ambang, Dominik Etienne, Anu Laakso, Carl-Gustav Lindén, Susan Servas, James Stewart, Paul Silfvenius, Minna Tokkari, Janis Vehmaan-Kreula, Anna-Mari Vesterinen, Annett Victorero, Lisa Winkler, Tuuli Ylinen and Lumi Young, whose editing work is gratefully appreciated.

UNU-WIDER is grateful for all of the analytical efforts and support, which have made this study possible; and we acknowledge with appreciation significant research contributions from the following professionals: P. Abbott, C. Arndt, W. Akpalu, A. Angelsen, C.F. Bach, Y. Bambio, N. Banks, D. Bevan, L. Buur, Z. Chen, I. Elgizouli, M. Funder, E. Garmendia, N. Givá, L. Gomez-Echeverri, Z. Guo, M.W. Hansen, J. He, P.S. Heller, T.W. Hertel, J. Huang, J.S. Juana, S. Kablan, G. Kahyarara, E. Kateregga, E. Kato, P.E. Kauppi, M. Kjær, J. Koo, R.K. Larsen, J. Li, C.A. Mamosso, M. Marani, C. Marcoux, E. Muchapondwa, T. Ngaido, E. Nkonya, W. Nyangena, E. Ojea, B.C. Parks, U. Pascual, C.M. Peratsakis, J. Phelps, M.G. Quibria, H.M. Ravnborg, J.T. Roberts, H.-H. Rogner, O. Therkildsen, M.J. Tierney, A. Tomo, D.K. Twerefou, S. Umbadda, D. Victor, J.L. Vilsen, and J. von Braun.

UNU-WIDER would also like to express our warmest appreciation to Danida and Sida for financial support and collaboration during the past three years of the ReCom project. Particular thanks for their efforts go to Tove Degnbol, Henning Nøhr, Anders Granlund, Lena Johansson de Château and Pernilla Sjöquist Rafiqui. It is our hope that our joint effort will lead to better informed aid policy and policy action in an area that is of utmost importance to the world’s poorest people as well as to humanity as a whole.