Skip Navigation

Climate Finance

Preventing the worst effects of human-induced climate change requires moving finance away from greenhouse gas-intensive activities toward activities that lower environmental and human impacts and build resilience. This shift will require changes in public and private finance, and will need to happen at the international, national, and local levels. Though progress in increasing climate finance flows has grown over the past decade, they are not yet on track to meet the challenge, and they risk being wasted without adequate safeguards. OGP members can use their action plans to increase funding for climate-related programs and projects across borders and in their own countries. Open government approaches can help shine a light on the nature of the problems and the scale of the solutions. By introducing more public oversight, governments can gain confidence that money is going where it is supposed to, neither wasted nor embezzled. Introducing more opportunities for participation also helps direct funds to better target public priorities. By making climate financial flows more inclusive, governments can better ensure that the most vulnerable become more resilient to the effects of climate change.

Open Gov Challenge: Climate and Environment

With OGP’s 2023-2028 Strategy, OGP members are set to work toward a number of aspirational thematic reforms through the Open Gov Challenge. This section of the Open Gov Guide addresses Climate and Environment.

Challenge prompt: Use open government to strengthen implementation of strategies or agreements on climate and environment.

Actions and reforms could include:

  • Implementing provisions in agreements such as the Escazú Agreement, Aarhus Convention, or Paris Agreement.
  • Implementing a climate and environment roadmap or strategy, strengthened through open government approaches.
  • Ensuring public oversight and transparency for climate finance and greening existing fiscal and planning processes.

Key Terms

Definitions for key terms such as climate adaptation, climate finance, and climate mitigation.

  • Climate adaptation: Adaptation involves “anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise.”
  • Climate finance: According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), climate finance is local, national, or transnational financing that “seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.” Climate finance aims to address the imbalance between the wealthy, industrialized countries that emit high levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) and the historically low-emission countries that experience the worst impacts of climate change. Examples include a variety of funds set up by governments under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as bilateral and multilateral development bank funds.
  • Climate mitigation: Mitigation specifically focuses on reducing existing greenhouse gas emission levels and preventing new emissions to make the impact of climate change less severe.

The Evidence

Growing research illustrates the potential of targeted climate finance when carried out transparently and with a focus on civic participation and public accountability, though much work remains to be done.

  • Countries should invest in their institutional capacity to design, implement, and monitor climate change projects to fully access and leverage international climate funds effectively. This incentive to improve national and local systems to manage climate finance has a downstream effect of strengthening the impact of such financing.
  • Evidence from an evaluation of efforts to conserve forests shows that participatory, inclusive, and transparent processes not only help capture GHGs but also benefit communities.
  • The Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance carried out a review of evidence of national climate planning and found that combining public oversight with evidence-based policy-making yielded stronger returns on investment.
  • Climate finance systems tend to be opaque and lack meaningful accountability in funding adaptation-related projects and programs. According to the International Budgeting Partnership, even if such funding reaches local communities, ensuring it benefits historically excluded groups is challenging. Improving accountability and inclusion mechanisms, especially through coalition building, is one way to address this issue.

Reform Guidance

The recommendations below represent reforms that national and local governments, representatives of civil society organizations, and others can consider for their action plans and the Open Gov Challenge. The reforms are categorized according to OGP’s principal values: transparency, civic participation, and public accountability. Reforms should be adapted to fit the domestic context, and involve and coordinate with other levels and branches of government.

Reforms across policy areas are also tagged by the estimated degree of difficulty in implementation. Though progress is often not linear, the recommendations have been categorized using these labels to give the reader a sense of how different reforms can work together to raise the ambition of open government approaches.

Recommended Reforms Key

  • Transparency: Transparency empowers citizens to exercise their rights, hold the government accountable, and participate in decision-making processes. Examples of relevant activities include the proactive or reactive publication of government-held information, legal or institutional frameworks to strengthen the right to access information, and disclosing information using open data standards.

  • Civic Participation: When people are engaged, governments and public institutions are more responsive, innovative, and effective. Examples of relevant initiatives include new or improved processes and mechanisms for the public to contribute to decisions, participatory mechanisms to involve underrepresented groups in policy making, and a legal environment that guarantees civil and political rights.

  • Public Accountability: Public accountability occurs when public institutions must justify their actions, act upon requirements and criticisms, and take responsibility for failure to perform according to laws or commitments. Importantly, public accountability means that members of the public can also access and trigger accountability mechanisms. Examples of relevant activities include citizen audits of performance, new or improved mechanisms or institutions that respond to citizen-initiated appeals processes, and improved access to justice.

  • Inclusion: Inclusion is fundamental to achieving more equitable, representative, and accountable policies that truly serve all people. This includes increasing the voice, agency, and influence of historically discriminated or underrepresented groups. Depending on the context, traditionally underrepresented groups may experience discrimination based on gender, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, age, geography, differing ability, legal, or socioeconomic status.

  • Foundational: This tag is used for reforms that are the essential building blocks of a policy area. “Foundational” does not mean low ambition or low impact. These recommendations often establish basic legal frameworks and institutional structures.

  • Intermediate: This tag is used for reforms that are complex and often involve coordination and outreach between branches, institutions, and levels of government, with the public or between countries.

  • Advanced: This tag is used for reforms that close important loopholes to make existing work more effective and impactful. Specifically, “Advanced” reforms are particularly ambitious, innovative or close important loopholes to make existing work more effective, impactful or sustainable. They are often applied in mature environments where they seek to institutionalize a good practice that has already shown results.

  • Executive: The executive branch of government is responsible for designing, implementing, and enforcing laws, policies, and initiatives. It is typically led by the head of state or government, such as a president or prime minister, along with their appointed cabinet members. The executive branch’s functions also include overseeing the day-to-day operations of the government, managing foreign affairs, and directing the country’s armed forces. In democratic systems, the executive branch is accountable to the legislature and the electorate, with its powers and limitations outlined in the constitution or legal framework of the respective country.

  • Legislative: The legislative branch of government is responsible for making laws and regulations and overseeing the functioning of the government. It typically consists of a body of elected representatives, such as a parliament, congress, or assembly, which is tasked with proposing, debating, amending, and ultimately passing legislation. The legislative branch plays a crucial role in representing the interests of the people, as its members are elected to office by the public. In addition to law-making, this branch often holds the power to levy taxes, allocate funds, and conduct certain investigations into matters of public concern. The structure and powers of the legislative branch are usually outlined in a country’s constitution or legal framework, and it serves as a check on the executive and judicial branches to ensure a system of checks and balances within a state.

Examples of Reforms from OGP and Beyond

The following examples are commitments previously made within or beyond OGP that demonstrate elements of the recommendations made above. Climate finance represents a new area of work for OGP members in terms of action plan commitments, with members in Latin America and the Caribbean as pioneers.

OGP Reforms
  • COSTA RICA Open Public Data on Climate Change: Created an open data portal where climate change-related data is stored and published for public access. Though the country has not yet published its climate financing dataset, its sector-disaggregated inventory of carbon emissions can provide a foundation to calculate carbon pricing.
  • GERMANY Disclosure of Extractive Industry Data: Created a new legal basis, technical infrastructure, and institutional mechanisms to publicly disclose comprehensive reports on revenues and operational information from the extractive sector for the first time, to fulfill Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative membership requirements.
  • KENYA Community Engagement on Climate Finance Transparency: Committed to creating multi-stakeholder, community engagement processes to design climate solutions, such as making climate finance data more transparent.
  • Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine Inclusive Green Economy: Co-created a Green Course Action Plan to develop an inclusive, climate-neutral economy that ensures growth, which won an OGP Innovation award in 2021. The municipality consulted a wide range of local stakeholders at each planning stage, from collecting data to identifying policy options.
  • MONTENEGRO Open Data on the Use of EU Funds: Committed to creating a national, centralized data portal on available EU funds related to green policies, and the country’s implementation of the European Green Deal priorities and current projects financed by the EU.
  • PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA Transparency in the Extractive Sector: Committed to setting up the Plateau State Extractive Transparency Forum to ensure transparency in the implementation of Community Development Agreements and Environmental Management Plans. Also committed to disclosing the exact amount of derivation funds earned by the extractive industry in Plateau State.
  • QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Multi-Stakeholder Roundtable on Sustainable Development: Committed to establishing a multi-stakeholder anti-corruption and environment roundtable to co-create sustainable plans to address climate change, protect biodiversity and the environment, and monitor the sustainability of development projects. Includes an initiative to make environmental budget allocations transparent.
Beyond OGP Action Plans
  • AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration for a Circular Economy: Convened representatives from government, the private sector, academia, and the general public to identify key priorities and opportunities for collaboration to develop a circular economy as part of its “Amsterdam Circular 2020-2025 Strategy.”
  • COLOMBIA Online Platform to Monitor Climate Finance: One of the first countries to develop a Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) framework to track climate finance actions from public sources both domestically and internationally. Also created an online platform to publish the data—at the time of launch in 2017, the government registered over US $6 billion worth of funding actions on the platform.
  • FIJI Climate Finance Analysis and Spending: Developed a climate finance strategy to identify investment priorities for climate adaptation and mitigation over the short term (2022-2025) and medium term (2026-2029). The strategy also includes spending priorities and tools for monitoring and evaluation.

The Role of Local Governments

The threats posed by climate change are disproportionately connected to life at the local level. According to the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, “Cities already account for 70% of global CO2 emissions from energy use; left unaddressed, emissions will continue to rise as urbanization accelerates, especially in developing countries. Cities are also at the forefront of climate change vulnerability: 70% of cities are already experiencing harmful impacts to their citizens and infrastructure as a result of climate change.”

To address these threats, governments throughout the subnational level—such as provinces, states, and municipalities—have already begun to leverage climate finance instruments to support adaptation and mitigation efforts. One example, such as in the United States, is the use of existing grants to invest in making infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events, mitigating climate-related health risks, and expanding access to clean energy. Another example is the use of investments and incentives to support household-level spending, such as by providing grants or tax breaks to make buildings more energy efficient.

In addition, as local governments invest in fighting climate change, actions such as raising revenue, taxing harmful activities, borrowing, and spending money will need to follow the best practices in transparency and independent public accountability mechanisms.

For more information on the progress of local governments in budgeting, collecting revenue, and spending money on climate-related initiatives, visit the OECD’s Subnational Government Climate Finance Hub.

Who is working on this topic?

Albania Albania
Anloga District, Ghana
Argentina Argentina
Austin, United States
Australia Australia
Banggai, Indonesia
Banská Bystrica, Slovak Republic
Brazil Brazil
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Bulgaria Bulgaria
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso
Canada Canada
Chile Chile
Colombia Colombia
Corrientes (City), Argentina
Costa Rica Costa Rica
Côte d'Ivoire Côte D'ivoire
Croatia Croatia
Denmark Denmark
Detmold, Germany
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
Ecuador Ecuador
France France
Georgia Georgia
Germany Germany
Greece Greece
Guatemala Guatemala
Gwangju, Republic Of Korea
Gyumri, Armenia
Honduras Honduras
Indonesia Indonesia
Ireland Ireland
Israel Israel
Italy Italy
Jamaica Jamaica
Jordan Jordan
Kaduna State, Nigeria
Kenya Kenya
Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
Malta Malta
Mendoza, Argentina
Mexico Mexico
Mongolia Mongolia
Morocco Morocco
Nigeria Nigeria
North Macedonia
Panama Panama
Paraguay Paraguay
Paris, France
Peñalolén, Chile
Peru Peru
Philippines Philippines
Plateau, Nigeria
Portugal Portugal
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Republic of Korea Republic Of Korea
Republic of Moldova Republic Of Moldova
Romania Romania
Rosario, Argentina
Rustavi, Georgia
Santo Domingo De Los Tsáchilas, Ecuador
Scotland, United Kingdom
Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana
Senegal Senegal
Shama, Ghana
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
South Africa South Africa
Spain Spain
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Tunisia Tunisia
Ukraine Ukraine
United States United States
Uruguay Uruguay
Vanadzor, Armenia
Wassa Amenfi East, Ghana
Yerevan, Armenia

This list reflects members with commitments in the “Environment & Climate” policy area of the Data Dashboard.

Active OGP Partners

The following organizations have recently worked on this issue in the context of OGP at the national or international level. They may have additional insights on the topic. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you are interested in national-level initiatives, please contact

Benchmarking Data

The OGP 2023-2028 Strategy sets out the Open Gov Challenge and aims to provide clear benchmarks for performance through reliable data.

While benchmarks for individual countries and Open Gov Guide recommendations are not yet integrated, for this chapter, interested individuals may rely on the following data sets:

  • WRI hosts a website called “Paying for the Paris Agreement” to highlight actions governments can take to finance the agreement’s climate goals, which includes a country-by-country breakdown.
  • The UNFCCC Climate Finance Data Portal acts as a central clearing house for publicly available government expenditures.
  • The OECD uses “Rio Markers” to track climate finance, although this binary marker counts all financing by OECD members as having a climate component. The OECD also maintains the Subnational Government Climate Finance Hub, which tracks regional and city-level progress in meeting the Paris Agreement commitments and other green initiatives through budgeting, revenue collection, and spending.

Guidance & Standards

While the list below is not exhaustive, it aims to provide a range of recommendations, standards, and analysis to guide reform in this policy area.

  • The UNFCCC has several resources related to climate finance on its website, including a database on activities funded by implementing countries. Parties to the Paris Agreement are required to report on the support given to developing countries every two years. In addition, the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) established at the 2013 UNFCCC meeting aims to establish national focal points of contact to coordinate access to information and public participation in implementing the Paris Agreement. Most OGP countries committed to establishing these offices as part of their Paris Climate Agreement contributions.
  • The ONE Campaign published a detailed report on the current obstacles preventing the necessary levels of transparency and oversight of climate finance data. The report also includes specific recommendations to address data gaps and how to accelerate funding for climate-related initiatives.
  • The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) published a review of trends in reporting of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indicators for the private sector, including topics such as corruption risks and whistleblower protections. Such reporting is critical to ensuring investments address climate change-related risks effectively. UNPRI also published a database of sustainable finance regulations across more than 850 policy tools.
  • As of 2023, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), a global standard-setting body, has published a standard for Climate-Related Disclosures. According to ISSB, the standard “requires an entity to disclose information about climate-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably be expected to affect the entity’s cash flows, its access to finance or cost of capital over the short, medium or long term.” The standard draws on the work of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which concluded its work and disbanded in October 2023.
  • The multilateral development banks—such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, and European Bank—published a joint methodology to track climate change adaptation finance that provides guidance on how to carry out such monitoring.
  • The European Union published a risk taxonomy, which sets performance thresholds for investors, companies, and other private sector actors. For example, the taxonomy set requirements for economic activities, which make a “substantive contribution” to at least one of six defined environmental objectives, and to “do no significant harm” to the other five. The taxonomy also requires adherence to other international standards on business and human rights and multinational enterprises to meet minimum safeguards.
  • In 2022, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rule changes to require certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and regularly submitted reports. Though the rule has not yet been finalized, it could represent important progress in one of the world’s largest financial markets.
  • The United Kingdom published a policy paper on sustainable investment that provides guidance for regulators, investors, and ratings agencies on how to ensure that sustainability principles are mainstreamed in emerging financial tools.
  • WRI has four key areas of work related to climate finance: promoting sustainable private sector finance, strengthening development finance institutions, upholding the role of finance in international climate negotiations, and supporting governments’ capacity to access climate finance. In addition, WRI’s Systems Change Lab is another critical resource that offers six key areas to strengthen national financial systems to secure and supervise climate finance. While action will need to take place at all levels, the national system will, by and large, be the locus for most of climate finance. All countries will need to strengthen their finance systems to ensure that public, private, and mixed finance meets its intended goals and is subject to public scrutiny.
  • A key area of work for the International Budget Partnership (IBP) is climate finance. The organization has conducted research on lessons learned to improve accountability in this policy area, as well as case studies and other analyses to advance open government approaches on this topic.
  • The Climate Policy Initiative created a “Landscape methodology” to track sources and uses of climate finance, which forms the foundation of its Global Landscape of Climate Finance report. The data analyzed—including by region, level of government, and sector—helps support data collection for UNFCCC and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reporting. The Climate Policy Initiative is also the Secretariat of the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance.
Open Government Partnership