Press release

UK expertise to help developing countries tackle climate change and move to cleaner energy

UK shows leadership at UN General Assembly in helping developing countries reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change.

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The Prime Minister yesterday at the UN General Assembly in New York outlined over £160 million of funding to help countries transition to cleaner, greener energy systems and support communities affected by climate change.

The UK is a world-leader on clean growth and green finance and is pioneering efforts to build greater resilience to climate change. It has cut emissions by more than 40% since 1990 - more than any other G7 country on a per person basis - and its legally-binding targets will see emissions fall by an average of 57% over the period 2028 to 2032 and at least 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels.

The UK is committed to sharing its expertise and help developing countries in the global challenge of tackling climate change. The government has committed at least £5.8 billion of funding between 2016 and 2020 to help developing countries both reduce emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Appearing at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the Prime Minister was clear that it is only through collective effort that we can successfully address the threat of climate change. She joined the UN Secretary General to call for countries to work together and strive towards ambitious outcomes at COP24, at the UN Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Summit, and beyond.

She set out:

  • £60 million of technical assistance to share the UK’s world leading expertise on energy market reform, transition to clean growth, green finance and climate legislation
  • £94.5 million focused on mitigating the effects of climate change would provide direct support to families most affected by droughts in Northern Kenya, as part of the government’s Kenya’s Hunger Safety Net Programme which will then transition to full government of Kenya ownership and funding
  • £15 million will make it more profitable for companies to buy from smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, helping to build resilience against rising food demand and climate shocks

She also said the UK would:

  • lead international efforts on climate resilience for the Secretary General’s Climate Summit in 2019
  • help gather evidence on the actions needed to adapt to climate change ahead of the 2019 The UK Secretary General’s Climate Summit in 2019 by co-convening the Global Commission on Adaptation
  • join the Carbon Neutrality Coalition to support ambitious action in support of the Paris Agreement’s collective goals of net-zero global emissions

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said:

We were one of the first countries to recognise the challenge and huge economic opportunities of the global shift to a greener, cleaner economy - putting clean growth at the heart of our Industrial Strategy.

Now we want to share our world-leading expertise with developing countries. This £60 million programme could provide the boost they need to begin their own clean growth movements, building economies fit for the future.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

When drought strikes in the developing world, it is the most vulnerable communities which are hit the hardest by damage to livestock and crops. I witnessed earlier this year in northern Kenya how the swift support of UK aid and our partners helped households, which would otherwise be at risk of sliding deeper into poverty.

UK aid is supporting the government of Kenya to build systems that will help them to withstand the devastating impact of future climate shocks.

This is good news for Kenya as the country takes another step towards moving beyond aid and this is good news for the UK as we grow our relationship with Kenya, a key trading partner.

The UK will lead global efforts to mitigate and respond to the effects of climate change protecting food, water and jobs for the future, and building resilience to cut the impact and cost of natural disasters. It is well placed to offer this expert advice and support in cutting carbon emissions as a global leader in tackling climate change, playing a vital role in negotiating the Paris Agreement.

The UK was also the first country to introduce domestic legally binding emission reduction targets and has reinforced this commitment by joining the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, an initiative led by New Zealand and the Marshall Islands that will promote long-term planning and ambitious action in support of the Paris Agreement’s collective goals of net-zero global emissions by the second half of this century.

There are huge opportunities to work with like-minded countries to affect global change while building on UK expertise. The UK is a leading country behind the move to incentivise green finance, securing approval to develop new international standards on the subject of Sustainable Finance this week. The announcement of the establishment of a new Sustainable Finance ISO Technical Committee, led by a UK secretariat provided by the British Standards Institution, comes a week ahead of the launch of the UK’s first ever Green GB Week, raising awareness of the need and economic opportunities of reducing emissions.

Notes to editors

  1. On Monday 15 October, the government will launch the first Green GB week. This will be a week of events and announcements across the UK designed to promote the opportunities that come from clean growth and raise awareness of how businesses and the public can contribute to tackling climate change. 
  2. Further details of the £60 million Technical Assistance Programme will be released during Green GB Week.
  3. The UK has transformed how its electricity is generated with the amount of electricity from low carbon sources hitting 50% in 2018, reducing carbon emissions from electricity faster than any other major country. Joining global efforts to phase out coal power in 2017 the UK has already committed to completely removing dirty coal power by 2025.
  4. A third and final phase of UK support of £94.5 million has been committed to the government of Kenya’s Hunger Safety Net Programme with the government of Kenya leading and fully financing the programme from 2024.
  5. The Hunger Safety Net Programme provides cash support to help meet the poorest people’s basic needs, such as food and school fees. The support is distributed through an innovative, technology-led system which ensures it reaches those most in need. The programme works in northern Kenya where poverty levels are the highest in the country.
  6. An additional £15 million has been approved for Food Trade and Resilience. The project will provide expertise and advice to make it more profitable for commercial companies to buy from smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This will increase the income of 1.8 million farming families, while helping to build resilience against rising food demand and climate shocks.
  7. The UK has also helped establish the Powering Past Coal Alliance today uniting more than 70 members including 28 national governments, states and businesses to accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of unabated coal power.
Published 27 September 2018