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Conflict Sensitive Climate Finance: Lessons from the Green Climate Fund

    Author: Scartozzi, Cesare M.
    Journal: Climate Policy, online first
    Date: May 2023

    Abstract: This study examines the state of integrated climate-security programming in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and evaluates whether its operational activities and portfolio are conflict-sensitive and peace-responsive. Using a novel natural language processing method, the analysis draws on a comprehensive dataset of 1,704 documents published by the GCF from January 2012 to February 2023. The findings indicate that while the GCF adheres to conflict sensitivity principles, it falls short in implementing effective conflict governance practices. This oversight leads to the systematic underestimation of conflict risks, potentially exposing GCF projects to unforeseen operational challenges. On a positive note, the analysis also reveals signs of progress in integrated climate security programming in the GCF, primarily thanks to initiatives by the Board and Accredited Entities. Overall, this study offers novel insights into the work of the GCF that have potential practical implications for practitioners working in climate finance.

    Key Policy Insights:

    • The Green Climate Fund (GCF) portfolio appears to be moderately exposed to security and conflict risks with about USD 8.5 billion allocated toward countries that have experienced forms of organized violence between the 2015–2020 period.
    • Despite its exposure to security risks, the GCF does not fully incorporate conflict sensitivity or peace responsiveness in its project cycle. Out of USD 11.4 billion of allocated funds, only USD 4.5 billion correspond to projects that have conflict management practices, and a mere USD 90 million correspond to projects that include conflict assessment measures.
    • The absence of conflict sensitivity in climate finance can result in operational and reputational risks, impair the mobilization of funding in conflict-affected regions, and undermine potential peace-building co-benefits. For these reasons, the GCF should arguably place a stronger emphasis on mainstreaming conflict sensitivity into its operational activities and portfolio to proactively address climate security dynamics and minimize risks.

    Keywords: Green Climate Fund, climate finance, climate change, conflict sensitivity, security, ESS.

    How to Cite:
    Chicago Manual of Style 17th ed.:
    Scartozzi, Cesare M. 2023. “Conflict Sensitive Climate Finance: Lessons from the Green Climate Fund.” Climate Policy, May.

    APA 7th ed.:
    Scartozzi, C. M. (2023). Conflict sensitive climate finance: Lessons from the Green Climate Fund. Climate Policy.