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2021 State of Cities Climate Finance

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Climate Policy Initiative


The 2021 State of Cities Climate Finance Report examines the current state of urban climate investment, the barriers to reaching the needed investment levels, and the steps to overcoming these challenges. Produced by the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (the Alliance), the report contributes to the Alliance’s mission to mobilize city level climate finance at scale by 2030. The report also contributes to the Leadership for Urban Climate Investment framework initiative hosted by the Alliance, which aims to create a strong global architecture for subnational climate finance and tracking.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for cities globally. Cities have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, with high mortality and infection rates and staggering economic losses. Many residents have and continue to endure months of pain. Job losses, most especially among women and young people, have led to stunning increases in poverty and hunger, threatening decades of development gains.

The pandemic recovery, however, opens a once in a generation opportunity to build sustainable, clean, inclusive, green cities that are fit for an imminent, unprecedented wave of urban growth. How we design power generation, transport and buildings in cities will be decisive in getting on track to achieve the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The report delivers its findings in two parts:

  • The Landscape of Urban Climate Finance (Part 1). Authored by the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance Secretariat (Climate Policy Initiative) in partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Part 1 presents for the first time a comprehensive estimate of global urban climate finance. The Landscape was developed by tracking all sources of climate finance flows to urban areas and estimating urban climate investments in the buildings and transport sectors. Part 1 also presents some of the Alliance’s activities to address barriers to investment.
  • The Enabling Conditions for Urban Climate Finance (Part 2). Authored by the World Bank, Part 2 analyzes enabling frameworks and presents solutions for mobilizing climate finance for low-carbon, climate-resilient urban development pathways. It seeks to provide a common level of understanding of the terminologies, knowledge, and themes used by climate policy and climate finance practitioners, city-level urban planners, and municipal finance officials.

The Executive Summary summarizes the key findings from both Parts, including the current context for city-level climate action, estimated urban climate finance flows, the enabling conditions needed to mobilize more finance, and steps to address the urban climate investment gap.


Climate Policy Initiative