Climate Justice Fund evaluation: final report

Full report of the independent evaluation of the Climate Justice Fund's work to date, drawing on the experiences of those who have implemented or been directly supported by the Fund.

1 Introduction

1.1 Background

The Climate Justice Fund (CJF) was established by the Scottish Government in 2012 to help tackle the effects of climate change in the poorest, most vulnerable countries. Since its inception it has supported 31 climate justice projects and programmes through three separate calls-for-proposals.

The Scottish Government has structured the CJF through three key funding rounds (see Table 1 for a summary of CJF projects). Round 1 (2012-2014), Round 2 (2014-2016) and Round 3 (2016-2021), which includes the larger Climate Challenge Programme Malawi (CCPM) and the Climate Justice Innovation Fund (CJIF) grants programme.

Table 1. Summary of CJF projects and programmes
Round Year Funds Count Country/s Project Types
Round 1 2012 £3m 5 Malawi (4), Zambia (1) Water focus funded through Hydro Nation programme
Round 2 2014 £3m 6 Malawi (4), Rwanda (1), Tanzania/Zambia (1) Water (or energy/agriculture related) focus funded through Hydro Nation programme
Round 3 2015 £12m* 16 Malawi (12), Rwanda (1), Zambia (3) Implemented through CJIF, CCPM and Hydro Nation.
(i) CJIF 2017 £600k 6 Malawi (4), Rwanda (1), Zambia (1) The Climate Justice Innovation Fund (CJIF), administered by Corra as the grant manager.
2018 £600k 6 Malawi (4), Zambia (2)
2019 £375k 3 Malawi (3)
(ii) CCPM 2017/18 £400k Malawi (1 programme) CCPM
2018/19 £1.3m
2019/20 £1.5m
2020/21 £1.5m

* Funded through £4m from the Hydro Nation programme and £8m from the Sustainable Action Fund. However, the Hydro Nation programme and its CJF work is outside the scope of this evaluation.

1.2 Policy Context

The climate crisis is not borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, men and women, nor between younger or older generations. It is already hitting those currently suffering from inequalities, meaning the poorest and most vulnerable, who have done least to cause climate change, are also those who are the first to suffer and feel the greatest impact of the climate crisis. Climate justice describes climate action which seeks to address this unfair distribution of climate change impacts. It puts human-rights at the core of international development initiatives whilst ensuring climate solutions are informed by science and innovation, and are built on a people-centred approach. It also seeks to help raise the profile and voice of vulnerable groups' access to, and participation in, decision making on climate mitigation and adaptation.[5]

The prevalence of climate justice framing in the policy arena has grown significantly over the last two decades, with the first climate justice summit taking place in The Hague at COP6 in 2000. In 2012, the Scottish Government was the first national government to develop an international development fund specifically centred around the concept of climate justice. Since then, the international debate on climate justice has been applied to wider climate change work, although there have been few formal meetings and the community of practice is still relatively disbursed. The first World Forum on Climate Justice was held in Glasgow in 2019 in partnership with the Glasgow Caledonian University Centre for Climate Justice and organisations such as the United Nations to help catalyse and consolidate thinking on climate justice.[6]

The Scottish Government set out its ambitious response to the climate crisis in its Programme for Government (December 2020), stating that the CJF will continue to support communities in partner countries to become more resilient to climate change.

Different policy actors engage with issues of climate justice in different ways. Through its extensive work with the UK Government, for example, NIRAS-LTS is aware that – with the exception of the Scottish Government's CJF – government bodies rarely frame policies as 'climate justice', instead often engaging with issues of climate justice under their 'leave no one behind' policy, in line with the United Nations-led 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The climate justice movement at an NGO/INGO and civil society level, in contrast, actively engages with the explicit concept of climate justice (e.g. the Climate Justice Resilience Fund). Refer to Annex 1 for more information on current climate justice funding programmes). Cutting edge efforts are underway to disentangle arguments on issues such as: inter-country equity (including loss and damage, how the term fits with the polluter-pays principle, capability/allocation of resources); intra-country equity (income distribution, just transition/employment, varying climate vulnerability between populations); and inter-generational equity (including gender equity issues and indigenous communities). Drawing on NIRAS-LTS experience in delivering climate justice-related interventions, and taking perspectives from various donors, research institutions, non-government organisations and civil society, as well as other development actors, will allow this evaluation to set clear boundaries and to help disentangle and address the precise contribution that the CJF has had on 'climate justice.'

1.3 Objective and Scope of the Evaluation

The objective of this evaluation is to 'assess the effectiveness of the CJF in delivering climate justice objectives and appraise the programme's achievements to-date. The findings will help inform the next phase of the CJF so that it remains influential and at the cutting edge of climate justice work globally.'

Following a tender process, NIRAS-LTS was contracted by the Scottish Government to undertake this endline evaluation of the first three rounds of CJF funding to support learning and inform future phases of work. NIRAS-LTS understands that the Scottish Government has commissioned this evaluation to help assess the effectiveness and impact of the CJF over the course of its existence. With the CJIF having concluded in March 2021, and the CCPM due to finish in September 2021, this evaluation provides a timely opportunity to take stock of what has worked, why and for whom. It also offers the opportunity to identify key lessons which can be used to inform, enhance and improve the design of the next phase of the CJF and ensuring that the CJF remains at the forefront of innovative climate justice, resilience and adaptation programming. Importantly, this evaluation also represents a timely opportunity to capture lessons and use findings to showcase CJF innovation, drive consensus building and influence development partner thinking on climate justice at COP26 in Glasgow.

1.4 Organisation of This Report

The remainder of this Report is divided into the following sections:

  • Section 2 outlines the evaluation approach and methodology;
  • Section 3 presents the CJF Theory of Change (ToC) and the synthesised evaluation findings; and,
  • Section 4 provides the evaluation conclusions and recommendations for the Scottish Government to take into consideration when designing potential future CJF funding rounds.



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