Four smiling children plant a small tree in the sand.
Credit: UNDP
Credit: UNDP

Climate change

Climate change affects everyone, but not equally. The poorest people in the world face the worst impacts.

Ireland believes in supporting the most vulnerable people to meet the challenges posed by climate change. We focus on supporting people in the Least Developed Countries (LDC), Small Island Developing States (SIDs) and fragile states. Our work builds resilience and helps communities to develop despite the challenges.

Climate finance and diplomacy

Climate finance is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy. We are doubling our climate finance to at least €225 million per year by 2025. This is an increase from approximately €90 million in 2020.

In 2022 we published an International Climate Finance Roadmap. This sets out the priorities and principles for reaching our target by 2025.

Climate diplomacy is also a central part of Ireland’s international climate action. We use our voice to advocate for the countries most at risk from the effects of climate change. We do this through the UN, EU and other international fora.

€225 million

Ireland’s annual climate finance spend by 2025


of Ireland’s bilateral climate finance is delivered to Least Developed Countries

Ireland’s key climate action priorities


Loss and damage

Oceans and biodiversity

Climate and security

We also build climate action into our work in other areas. This includes human rights, private sector engagement, gender and youth issues.

Climate change adaptation

Climate adaptation means taking action to reduce the likely impacts of climate change. Adaptation builds people’s ability to withstand the impacts. Interventions can range from flood defences to climate-smart agriculture.

Adaptation is the core focus of Ireland's climate finance and support. Many of the countries where Ireland works are on the frontlines of climate impacts.

Ireland supports the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network and the Least Developed Countries Fund, both of which help countries to develop and implement action plans.

Mitigating the effects of climate change

Ireland also supports the Special Climate Change Fund's work on adaptation and resilience in Small Island Developing States.

Adaptation is a key pillar of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. Under the UNFCCC, mechanisms exist to support adaptation in developing countries. This includes the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) of which Ireland is a member and funder, the Adaptation Committee and the Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.

Ireland engages in the UN process to support the work and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Loss and damage caused by climate change

Those least responsible for the causes of climate change are most vulnerable to its consequences. Extreme weather and other impacts lead to loss of life, displacement, and much more. Loss and damage occurs when people experience these impacts.

The Santiago Network was established at COP25. This network links technical help to the needs of developing countries to avert, minimise and address Loss and Damage. Ireland pledged €5 million to the Santiago Network at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.


Ireland played a leading role at COP27 in the EU negotiating team on Loss and Damage. A historic agreement was reached for new financing arrangements. This included the establishment of a Loss and Damage fund under the UNFCCC for vulnerable developing countries.

Ireland and Germany are tasked with designing the new financing arrangements.

Oceans and biodiversity

Oceans hold 97% of all our water and 80% of all life forms. They absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. Without healthy oceans, life on this planet is at risk.

The ocean plays a vital role for Ireland in terms of our health, climate, economy and society. Ireland's international ocean work seeks to address three broad interlinked areas of work:

  • Addressing climate change, marine pollution and biodiversity
  • Support for sustainable jobs and livelihoods
  • International governance of oceans

Climate and security

Climate change poses a significant threat to international peace and security. People around the world have to contend with more extreme weather and scarcer resources. This leaves vulnerable populations even more exposed to crises.

Collaborating internationally on climate and security

Ireland prioritised Climate and Security during our term on the UN Security Council (2021-2022). We were co-chair of the Informal Expert Group on Climate and Security, together with Niger.

Ireland tabled a Resolution on this topic with Niger in 2021. This aimed to strengthen the Council's ability to address climate-related security risks and was backed by 113 countries. The Resolution did not pass but the level of support from around the world showed how important an issue it is. We were proud to have moved the debate forward.

Since finishing our term on the Security Council, we have continued to progress this area. We are members of the UN's Climate and Security Mechanism. We support a dedicated Climate and Security advisor in the UN Mission in Juba, as well as Climate and Security Training for UN officers.

Ireland supports a positive framing of climate and security, focusing on peacebuilding aspects. We support a project that is testing climate adaptation as a neutral entry point to peacebuilding in Nigeria and Kenya.

Climate action and gender

Gender inequalities means climate risks are unequal. Women’s role in addressing the climate crisis is often overlooked and undervalued.

Ireland's international action and our climate finance strengthens women's voice and leadership. We support active participation of women in decision-making processes on climate change. Ireland helps women's and grassroots organisations to access climate finance.

In 2023, Ireland initiated a programme in climate innovation and entrepreneurship. This programme targeted women and women-led initiatives and businesses.

Climate action and young people

Young people are becoming increasingly engaged in climate action. The UN Declaration of Human Rights highlights our duty to: "meet[ing] the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs."

This is now known as ‘intergenerational climate justice’.

Irish Aid supported 13 youth and female delegates from developing countries to attend COP27.

These delegates had access to training in climate negotiations to help them advocate. Both the Taoiseach and Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid met with them.

They discussed climate issues and challenges facing communities, young people and women.

Climate action and human rights

Climate change is a huge rights issue. Groups such as women and indigenous people are disproportionately affected.

We ensure this link is recognised in United Nations Resolutions at the Human Rights Council and General Assembly.


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