I have today written to the Foreign Secretary to express my concerns about the UK’s commitment to supporting climate vulnerable countries and ensure that aid reaches those who need it most.
Read my letter here:
The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
King Charles Street
14 February 2022
Our Ref: ZA13116
Dear Foreign Secretary,
I am writing to you as I am concerned about the UK’s commitment to supporting climate vulnerable countries who are under immediate threat from the climate crisis.
It is generally agreed that the existing target to provide $100bn of climate finance a year by 2020 has been missed. During COP26, the UK COP President said that this target will be met by 2023. We know that climate finance matters and ensuring the $100bn pledge is met going forward is one of the four goals of the UK’s COP26 Presidency. We have also increased our individual commitment to £11.6bn in the next four years. I believe it is vital that the UK leads by example and fully delivers on its long-delayed global promise. We must also encourage other countries to contribute to the $100 billion pledge.
Farmers, particularly small-holder farmers in climate vulnerable areas, are on the front line of climate change – vulnerable to changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as increasingly frequent extreme weather events. I want to ensure that farmers receive the right funding so that they can protect their livelihoods, take on the climate crisis and continue to produce food for the planet. Therefore, I would like to know how small-holder farmers in low-income and climate vulnerable countries will be able to access the promised global fund.
I would be most grateful if you could review the raised concerns and clarify how exactly the UK International Climate Finance (ICF) will ensure that UK aid is delivered to those who need it most.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
Read the response I received on 8 March 2021 from The Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park:
Thank you for your letter of 14 February to the Foreign Secretary, setting out your concerns about the Government’s funding commitments to farmers in low-income countries taking on the climate crisis. I am replying as the Minister responsible for this policy area.
At COP26, the UK Government announced a new £65 million Just Rural Transition Support
Programme. This programme will build on and scale up current UK Government support to the Just Rural Transition, which is helping countries to take initial steps towards implementing sustainable land use policies and practices, to deliver benefits for people, climate, and nature.
The new programme will support developing countries to design and implement approaches that help their farmers build resilience and drive investment into more sustainable methods of
agriculture through repurposing agricultural policies and support. The programme will also
include support to ensure that farmers, including smallholders, are involved in policy-making
processes, for example through consultations, trials and pilot programmes for new technologies and approaches.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO’s) existing agriculture portfolio
contains programmes that are specifically designed to help smallholder farmers in the most
climate-vulnerable countries to adopt sustainable and resilient agricultural practices. For
example, with UK International Climate Finance, we are supporting the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme (CASA) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) which help countries, producer organisations and agri-businesses to address climate change through the adoption of mitigation and adaptation technologies and much-needed related capacity building.
The most recent review of the wider FCDO portfolio on agriculture (available online) found that 20 million farmers had their income improved (earning a total of £320 million more) and 4 million smallholders increased their agricultural productivity over the period under consideration.
The UK has committed to doubling its spend on International Climate Finance to £11.6 billion
over the next five years. As we mobilise these funds we will continue to support the most
vulnerable people, including farmers, adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Thank you once again for your letter.
With best wishes,
The Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond