Gains on plastics are important, but concrete solutions still needed for climate

Katrin von der Dellen/CARE

New CARE report notes Canada has made progress helping people adapt to climate change, but further G7 support needed

OTTAWA – As G7 ministers prepare to discuss ridding the oceans of plastics, CARE is also calling on officials to dive deeper with climate change commitments to protect coastal communities.

On Sept. 19-21, G7 ministers on environment and energy from Canada, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy, as well as the European Union will meet in Halifax under the announced theme of climate change, oceans and clean energy. As part of these discussions, the environmental focus will place an emphasis on cleaning plastic waste in the oceans.

“We applaud the efforts of environmentalists who are making a real difference to push for action to protect marine life and livelihoods. While this cleanup is welcome, we can’t ignore the devastating impact climate change is having on coastal communities right now,” says Gillian Barth, president and CEO for CARE Canada.

These meetings follow the aftermath of destruction that hurricanes and typhoons have left in the past week. The severity of Florence in the United States and Mangkhut on the Philippines are a reminder to coastal nations of the increased risk they face from extreme weather. At the same time, island states that contribute few carbon emissions are under growing strain from sea levels rising, which destroys productive land with saltwater and harms future potential.

According to a new CARE report, Canada has been a leader among G7 countries in terms of the proportion of its international climate finance being directed to help vulnerable communities that are facing climate change today. However, more can be done to ensure this funding directly improves the lives of poor women directly impacted.

“Since at least 2014, Canada has punched above its weight in terms of the proportion of its support to help people that must adapt to climate change,” says Barth. “These G7 discussions offer Canada a critical opportunity to encourage partners to focus climate finance into the hands of the poorest women dealing with the impacts of climate change today.”

For example, establishing a Canadian women’s fund on climate adaptation could ensure climate change commitments are not isolated from programs funded through the feminist international assistance policy.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy has echoed international evidence noting that “women and girls are uniquely affected by the damaging effects of climate change.” However, Canada and other G7 countries continue to lack a strategy and dedicated funding to ensure their climate finance reaches those most impacted.

CARE joins civil society partners in calling for Canada to continue its leadership by creating a $300 million Women’s Fund for Climate Adaptation to be disbursed over five years. This unique funding window would support women’s environmental organizations, strengthen climate change movements and support small-scale farmers adapting to climate change by prioritizing women-led initiatives.

While Canada has made progress, the CARE report notes the proportion of Canadian climate finance going towards adaptation is set to decline.

“Now is the time for Canada and G7 states to build on progress made as we lead up to meeting our shared 2020 climate promises,” says Barth. “It is vital this support is an even split between long term mitigation efforts and helping women and girls that are facing the threat of a changing climate right now.”


Editor’s Notes:

Some of the results of the report released by CARE, which is based on the OECD database of development finance with the latest figures available for 2016, include:

  • In absolute terms, the EU institutions, Japan and Germany reported adaptation finance totals over USD 2bn each, on average, between 2013-2016.
  • The US (74%), Canada (71%), and Germany (61%) paid the most attention to gender equality (2013-2016 average, funding amount) within projects counted as adaptation, whereas Japan (29%) and France (24%) rank the lowest.
  • In terms of the adaptation finance, Canada and EU institutions show a positive trend with continuous increases since 2014, with the US stepping up in 2016 under the Obama administration. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s turnaround on climate finance threatens this positive trend and might leave more people unprotected from climate risks.
  • The absolute numbers reported to the OECD, however, must be handled with caution, due to concerns of inaccurate accounting practices by the donor countries, where often questionable objectives are reported.

Read the full report here:

CARE has spokespeople available. Contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | 613-228-5641