This forum article discusses environmental official development assistance (ODA), the official aid allocated for the purpose of making environmental improvements in recipient countries, focusing on the affinity between the changing ODA rules and the patterns of green aid activities at a global level. It explores the question of how far ODA rules and principles can consistently accommodate the interface between aid and the environment, through examining the changing ODA principles reflected in the outcome of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4), held in Busan in 2011–2012. This article argues that the shifting emphasis and the subsequent laxness in ODA norms may increasingly facilitate donor-oriented green-labeled projects that, in turn, create and reinforce a negative synergy with an undesirable aid modality. If ODA in this field were better managed, it could serve as a significant tool for improving the quality of life through environmental protection in poorer countries.

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