Understanding the relationship between climate change and international development is essential both to achieve the UN Global Goals and to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement. The World Bank calculates that without climate-informed development 100 million additional people could be forced into poverty by 2030.[i] Poor and marginalised populations, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Low-Income Countries (LICs) are among most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.[ii] Moreover, without innovation, developing countries are increasingly likely to contribute to climate change as they experience population increase, urbanisation and economic growth.

With countries around the world required to step up their ambitions at COP26, and with the impacts of climate change already becoming apparent in low- and middle-income countries, it is increasingly important to understand the complex interactions between climate change and international development. Research is critically important for identifying conditions under which both climate and development goals can be achieved and to design strategies to maximise the synergies and minimise the trade-offs between the two.

UK research funders have a strong history of supporting research on climate change and international development. The briefing summarises the findings of a mapping of the scope and research of UK-funded research on climate change and international development. It sets out the distribution of funding, examines some of its strengths, weaknesses and impacts, and looks ahead at gaps, opportunities and research priorities for the future. It also provides an early examination of the impacts of COVID-19 on the climate-development research landscape.

[i] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2015/11/08/rapid-climate-informed-development-needed-to-keep-climate-change-from-pushing-more-than-100-million-people-into-poverty-by-2030

[ii] https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/02/World-Social-Report-2020-Chapter-3.pdf