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International action

International action


The European Union and its Member States provide funding and support to climate change adaptation in developing countries within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

European Commission and Member States have their own instruments to provide support to increasing resilience in developing countries, as well as in enlargement and neighbourhood countries.


The IPCC is a scientific body under the UN that reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.

The Cancun Adaptation Framework[1] adopted in 2010 seeks to increase international cooperation to support adaptation action in developing countries, in order to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in developing country Parties, taking into account the urgent and immediate needs of those developing countries that are particularly vulnerable.

The Cancun Adaptation Framework decided to:

  • Develop and implement national adaptation plans, building upon their experience with the national adaptation programmes of action;
  • Establish a work programme on approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Establish the Adaptation Committee as the overall advisory body to the COP on adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change.

The Nairobi Work Programme provides information on  impacts, vulnerability, adaptation to climate change and assessment of these, helping developing countries make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to respond to climate change on a sound scientific, technical and socio-economic basis, taking into account current and future climate change and variability.


The Finance Portal provides a good overview of financing activities under the UNFCCC.

The Environmental Facility[2]manages a number of funds from the UNFCCC and also provides secretariat services on an interim basis and upon invitation from Parties, both to the Adaptation Fund Board and the World Bank, serving as trustee of the Adaptation Fund.

The Adaptation Fund[3] finances concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Adaptation Fund is supervised and managed by the Adaptation Fund Board.

The Green Climate Fund is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention and  will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties, with a specific funding window for adaptation.

The European Union committed to provide €7.2 billion in 'fast start' finance over the years 2010-2012. Despite the difficult economic situation and tight budgetary constraints, the EU and its Member States honoured and even surpassed this pledge by providing €7.34 bn.

EU instruments

The EU’s Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) initiative provides technical and financial support to developing countries to integrate climate change into their development policies and budgets, and to implement projects that address climate change on the ground. The GCCA is also a platform for dialogue and exchange of experience.

In addition, adaptation to climate change is mainstreamed into development cooperation. EU development assistance is distributed through multi-annual strategies and programmes which are jointly prepared by the European Action Service (EEAS) and EuropeAid.

For the 2007 to 2013 financial perspective, the EU has adopted a package of new instruments for the implementation of external assistance. External action is mainly based on three “geographical” instruments: Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), European Development Fund (EDF). The EU’s thematic development programmes and instruments seek to help developing countries meet the relevant Millennium Development Goals by focussing on specific themes. They supplement other EU aid, which is geographically-based.

Technical and financial assistance to the Enlargement countries is provided through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), among other financial and technical assistance.


The EU will be better equipped for migration governance at home and globally only if it further reinforces its dialogue and cooperation with partner countries. The EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) represents the strategic framework to address migration policy, and adaptation to climate change is part of it. Climate-induced migration is also addressed by the EU Adaptation Strategy.

Disaster risk reduction

It is important that disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation assistance are linked together in a coherent and effective way to enhance resilience. The EU Strategy for DRR covers natural or technological disasters in developing countries and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

Due to the socio-economic vulnerability of these countries, climate hazards affect their sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The strategy is part of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 introduced via the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). It is linked with climate change adaptation strategies and action to prevent and respond to man-made crises.

  • [1] Parties adopted the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF) as part of the Cancun Agreements at the 2010 Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico (COP 16/ CMP 6).
  • [2] The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.
  • [3] The Adaptation Fund was established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UNFCCC to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Information on this fund is also available in the Finance Portal, although it is not part of its 3 modules.

Useful links

EU instruments


Disaster Risk Reduction