The UK’s 2023 International Climate Finance Strategy identifies support for just transitions to more sustainable food systems that will deliver nutritious food; adapt and build resilience to climate shocks and reverse the negative impact from unsustainable supply chains (including production, storage, transport, loss, and waste). It notes that the UK will focus on sustainable agriculture and resilient food systems to deliver wins for people via healthy diets and sustainable economies. The UK will also focus on small-scale agricultural producers, in low- and middle-income countries to enhance their resilience to a changing climate, including climate shocks and extreme events, increase household incomes and food security and reverse ecological decline.

The UK’s 2030 strategic framework for international climate and nature action, published in March 2023, also commits to UK leadership on de-carbonization, with agriculture and building resilience, including by increasing global adaptation finance, as priority sectors.

ODA Spending

How much ODA does the UK allocate to agriculture?

The UK was the fifth-largest OECD DAC donor country to agriculture in 2022, representing 3.8% of the UK’s GNI (compared to the DAC average of 6%).

How is UK agricultural ODA changing?

Going forward, the UK is likely to support agriculture, but increasingly as part of its work on tackling climate change and protecting biodiversity. The UK's 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, and its 2023 refresh, identifies climate change and biodiversity as the UK’s number one international priority moving forward. Agriculture is mentioned in relation to adaptation and ensuring the sustainability of natural resources. The Integrated Review refresh commits the UK government to lead a campaign to improve global food security and nutrition in 2023, including exploring a shift to more sustainable agriculture and taking more preventative action to reduce famines.

Pressures of COVID-19 recovery, the UK’s exit from the EU, and the ensuing political and economic instability from these events have played a role in the decrease in ODA more generally which may have had trickle-down effect on the development of agricultural ODA.

How does the UK allocate agricultural ODA?

Bilateral Spending

In 2021, 33% of the UK’s ODA for agriculture was disbursed through bilateral channels including as earmarked funding through multilaterals, below the DAC average of 51%. The volume of overall ODA to agriculture declined steeply between 2020 and 2021 as a result of a reduced overall ODA budget, and further declined in 2022. Bilateral funding to agriculture has fluctuated in the last five years following its peak of US$663 million, or 54% share of total ODA to agriculture, in 2017.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

Core contributions to multilaterals in 2021 accounted for 58% of the UK’s ODA to agriculture.

Funding and Policy Outlook

What is the current UK government's outlook on agricultural ODA?

Agriculture is not a primary sector for the UK, but largely falls under climate ODA: At COP27, the UK announced US$247 million) for the AfDB’s Action Window, a new mechanism set up to help vulnerable countries with climate adaptation, and US$117 million in investment in Nigeria to support the development of climate-resilient agriculture programs. The UK also used its Presidency of COP26 in 2021 to announce US$21 million to The Adaptation Fund, and G:abbrUS$54 million over a two-year period to CGIAR at COP26. UK funding to CGIAR represents a significant reduction in funding from previous commitments by nearly 50%, reflecting ODA budget pressures. The UK also launched the Gilbert Initiative in 2021 to develop climate-resilient food systems through research and innovation.

Tracking Commitments at COP27

Key Bodies

Related Publications

Donor Updates in Brief: 2023 OECD Preliminary Data

COP28: A pre-event primer for advocates

2023 Africa Climate Week & Africa Climate Summit Pre-Read

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