Funding Our Future: Five Pillars for Advancing Rights-Based Climate Finance

  • Date Posted: April 14, 2021
  • Organizations/Projects: Center for International Environment Law (CIEL)
  • Document Types: Technical Report
  • Donor Type: Non-Governmental Organization


As the climate crisis intensifies, so, too, do its impacts on human rights. Addressing these impacts requires urgent, ambitious action and significant funding to support dramatic emissions reductions, adaptation to a rapidly changing world, and action on loss and damage due to climate change. This funding is colloquially known as climate finance.

Funding Our Future: Five Pillars for Rights-Based Climate Finance explores how climate finance can advance the principal goals of the UNFCCC (UN Climate Change) and the Paris Agreement and protect human rights. Adequate climate finance must flow from those developed countries most responsible for the climate crisis to those developing countries least responsible for it, yet most adversely affected by it. Funding must reach those most in need, without creating new debt or compounding existing inequalities. Climate finance must support proven strategies and community-driven solutions that can pave the way to a fossil-free, clean-energy future and enhance the resilience of those most vulnerable to climate harm — not lock in reliance on fossil fuels and industrial agriculture or subsidize false solutions. Finally, climate finance must be designed and implemented through a rights-based approach that prioritizes transparency, public participation, and accountability. The report focuses primarily on this last element, drawing lessons from experience to date to inform a broader discussion about the fundamental contours of climate finance: what is funded, where, how much, and on what terms.