The climate crisis affects every member of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Secretariat helps member states tackle climate change and adapt to its worst impacts.

Climate change negatively affects the development of small and other vulnerable countries across the Commonwealth. Many Commonwealth countries are already facing increased temperature, sea level rise, storm surges, drought, floods, and hurricanes. The Commonwealth supports small and other vulnerable states by amplifying their calls for greater climate action.

We have been pushing for greater climate action since 1989, when Commonwealth leaders committed to protecting the environment in the Langkawi Declaration. This was one of the world’s first collective statements to name greenhouse gas emissions as one of the leading problems facing the planet.

Our work

The Climate Change Programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat focuses on strengthening the resilience of Commonwealth countries to the negative impacts of climate change. It provides member countries with measures and support for mitigating and adapting to a changing climate.

The Programme facilitates the human and institutional capacity development of member countries to access public and private climate funding to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, including the implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions.

The Commonwealth Climate Change Programme advocates for international policies, mechanisms and rules to be more responsive to the development needs of Small Islands Developing States and other vulnerable countries. The Programme's support is delivered through various mechanisms and partnerships including:

 

Commonwealth Finance Access Hub

The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH) helps countries to unlock the available climate finance. Through this initiative, small and vulnerable member states are assisted to bid for and gain increased access to climate finance.

The process is achieved through supporting the development of grant proposals and project pipelines; building human and institutional capacity; providing technical advisory services; and facilitating cross-Commonwealth cooperation and sharing of experiences and expertise by Commonwealth National Climate Finance Advisers who are deployed and embedded in relevant government ministry departments.

Visit the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub

 

CommonSensing

CommonSensing is an innovative project based on a partnership between Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and a consortium of international partners working together to support and build climate resilience and enhance decision-making, using satellite remote sensing technology.

The Commonwealth Secretariat is the thematic lead on climate finance and is providing technical assistance to the three countries in utilising the geospatial based CommonSensing Platform for enhanced access to climate finance.

Visit CommonSensing

Read the CommonSensing brochure

 

 

Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands (CALL)

The Commonwealth is home to:

  • 23% of all land area
  • critical biodiversity ecosystems like the tropical forests of Papua New Guinea and keystone species like savanna elephants
  • An important carbon sink and source of 15% global emissions
  • 25 SIDS that have over 400 endemic species

The Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands (CALL), which originated after the 2019 IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, seeks to support the 56 member countries to work on critical land issues of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation.

These issues lie under the three United Nations Rio conventions of Biological Diversity (UN CBD), combatting desertification (UNCCD) and Climate Change (UNFCCC). The aim of CALL is to enable integrated implementation of the commitments and targets agreed under the three Rio Conventions, harnessing co-benefits in pursuit of a shared vision of living in harmony with nature.

The Commonwealth Living Lands Charter, a primary guiding mechanism for this programme, will serve as the framework for the integrated and coherent pan-Commonwealth implementation of these commitments. Implementation of the Charter will be supported by established platforms, mechanisms, and initiatives of the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as partners and Accredited Organisations of the Commonwealth who will provide support and technical expertise towards achieving sustainable land management.

Commonwealth adopts Historic Living Lands Charter

Download the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter

 

Disaster Risk Finance Portal

The online Commonwealth Disaster Risk Finance Portal helps member countries easily find the right type of financial support to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters. Information on international funding earmarked for catastrophes is compiled, streamlined and made easy to navigate.

For governments, the tool will simplify the process of identifying the financing best-suited to their needs, and connect them with the relevant contacts to access the funds more efficiently. The portal will not only serve as a database of valuable information, but also help build the capacity of governments to seek and secure disaster risk finance.

Visit Commonwealth Disaster Risk Finance Portal

 

NDC Partnership – Climate Action Enhancement Package

Under the NDC Partnership's Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) initiative, the Commonwealth Secretariat supported four member countries - Belize, Eswatini, Jamaica and Zambia - through the provision of in-country technical expertise, capacity building and targeted support, to fast-track the implementation of each country’s Nationally Determined Contributions.

In Jamaica and Eswatini, the Commonwealth Secretariat, through the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH), led the creation of a framework to review how climate-related spending is included into the national budgeting process. The findings will help the respective governments with evidence-based decision-making on budgeting for climate action.

In Belize, CCFAH has carried out a climate finance landscape assessment and built on the findings to develop a Climate Finance Strategy for the country for 2021 -2026.  Support to Zambia under CAEP involved and Zambia, the Commonwealth Secretariat is developing a National Climate Finance Strategy conducting a climate finance mapping along with the development of a baseline report on monitoring, reporting and verification of climate finance for NDC implementation for Zambia.

The Commonwealth National Climate Finance Advisers remain active in these countries beyond the CAEP initiative, and to support implementation actions of the resources developed, particularly preparing proposals for climate finance resource mobilisation. 

Commonwealth NDC webinar series

Download 'Accelerating NDC Implementation Across the Commonwealth' (PDF)

 

Gender

With one in three women on the planet living in the Commonwealth, we are committed to mainstreaming gender into our work to tackle climate change.

By integrating gender into climate policy and programmes, we can leverage the co-benefits of gender equality and climate action. For example, we support member countries to develop Gender Action Plans, giving women equal footing on all levels of decision-making on climate change. Learn more about our gender and climate work in our video below.

Read our Gender Integration for Climate Action report 

Resources