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This paper offers a perspective on the political factors that have influenced the size, nature, and timing of UK commitments to forest finance, specifically the significant and committed finance being programmed under the International Climate Fund (ICF), during a time of austerity in the UK. In particular, the paper analyzes opportunities and constraints (past, current, and future) related to the channeling of funding through performance-based mechanisms, such as REDD+.
Towards the latter half of the 2000s, at a time when UK finance for forests under the international climate negotiations was scaling up, the global financial crisis put considerable pressure on the UK government’s aid budget. This led to an increased scrutiny of ODA in general and an increased appetite across government for a more results-based approach to aid.
This paper explores how the UK government has channeled finance under its International Climate Fund (ICF) - the primary vehicle for forest finance - and how it has integrated results-based payments into its funding decisions. This analysis is based on a combination of desk research and expert interviews. A wide range of stakeholders with in-depth knowledge of forest finance in the UK were consulted, including current and past government staff, as well as representatives of NGOs and the private sector. Desk research included a review of information on UK forest aid projects, government-commissioned reports, NGO reports and position statements, and media coverage.