Aligning Development Co-operation and Climate Action

The Only Way Forward

In series:The Development Dimensionview more titles

Published on November 27, 2019

Climate change is altering the ecological and social systems that underpin human well-being and economic activity, and developing countries are particularly vulnerable to its impact on the growth and sustainable development prospects of every sector and community. Being part of the solution requires all providers of development co-operation to align their activities with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. However many still lack the mandates, resources, incentives and strategies to do so. This report outlines how providers can make changes at home, in developing countries and in the international development co-operation system, to help create low-emissions, climate-resilient economies, and how they can avoid supporting activities that lock the world into an unsustainable future.


Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive summary
Accelerating the transition to low‑emissions, climate‑resilient development pathways
Why is it a priority to align development co‑operation with the objectives of the Paris Agreement?
What does Paris alignment mean for development co-operation?
How can development co‑operation align with the objectives of the Paris Agreement?
Annexes3 chapters available
Members of the High-Level Advisory Group
Members of the Informal Expert Group
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How climate-compatible is international aid? To what extent are official financial flows to developing countries and the actions they support “consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development”, per the Paris Agreement’s Article 2.1? 

Development co-operation is not playing its full part to achieve the Paris Agreement

Global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. People around the world are experiencing increasingly frequent and severe climate change impacts, from hurricanes and floods to droughts and heatwaves. People in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries are enduring these escalating risks and disasters. Despite this, development co-operation is not yet systematically addressing the global climate crisis. Developed and developing countries alike continue to follow unsustainable pathways.

Development finance is still used for activities that undermine sustainable development, and there is no strong upwards trend in shares of climate-related finance to tackle rising climate risks in developing countries.

Policy highlights

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Shares of climate-related development finance, 2013-17

Development co-operation cannot meet development needs if it fails to account for current and future climate risks. Development finance is still used for activities that undermine sustainable development, and the lack of a strong upwards trend in shares of climate-related finance suggests insufficient action to account for rising climate risks in developing countries.

Sources: OECD, 2019 OECD.Stat: Creditor Reporting System,; OECD, 2019 Climate Change: OECD DAC External Development Finance Statistics,

New guidance for development co-operation to tackle the problem

In order to help providers of development co-operation reform their financing, policy support and capacity development interventions, the OECD Secretary-General has convened a High-Level Advisory Group – comprised of international leaders and experts on sustainable development and climate change – and an Informal Expert Group.

In close consultation with the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the DAC Network on Environment and Development Co-operation (ENVIRONET), has developed a new guidance for the international community to change, identifying key challenges and the priority actions at three levels.




Provide coherent support to developing countries across all areas of foreign policy


Support governments to plan for, finance and implement the transition to low-emissions, climate-resilient pathways


Support consistent international standards and pursue ambitious multilateral action

Next steps

The OECD will hold an event to discuss the report at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain (details forthcoming).

The OECD convened a high-level roundtable discussing its preliminary conclusions in the margins of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York on Tuesday 24 September 2019.

Paris Agreement - Article 2.1 (UNFCCC)

Article 2.1 of the Paris Agreement emphasises the aim of strengthening “the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by

  1. Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
  2. Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and
  3. Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development."

Further reading