West Africa- Climate Change Adaptation Strategies

West Africa already faces significant difficulties in coping with climatic variability and recurrent extreme weather events. Droughts, floods and other weather extremes seriously affect local people – particularly the poor – and disrupt growth and poverty reduction processes.

According to scientific predictions, climate change is expected to further increase poverty levels and make its eradication more difficult as it directly affects poor peoples’ livelihoods and assets upon which they rely. It is also likely to impede the prospects for poverty eradication unless countries such as Burkina Faso and Senegal – where this EPIC component is based – become more organised in their approach to poverty reduction at national and regional levels.

All signs point to a strong, and urgent, need to reduce vulnerability at the community level. Achieving this, however, is dependent on adequate policies and institutional frameworks, as well as the active involvement of as many stakeholders as possible, especially those people living in rural areas who are most exposed to these dangers and risks.

Project locations for EPIC’s interventions have been identified through a number of approaches, projects and analyses, and will focus on areas such as Burkina Faso’s Northern Province which has been exposed to successive extreme events in the past few years. This intervention builds on recognised needs by IUCN and its partners – from community leaders to policy-makers – across the region.

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In seeking to demonstrate solid scientific principles and approaches, while at the same time shaping and re-inforcing already ongoing and/or planned activities, key activities to be undertaken include:

An assessment of the consequences of recent extreme events from an environmental and poverty-related context, together with the observed/recorded responses of local people and institutions;
Analysis of the consequences of climate change and meteorological extreme events on local targeted poverty reduction strategy aspects;
An inventory of endogenous strategies of adaptation to climate change in selected areas; and
Collation of best strategies from the region and dissemination of new climate change adaptation mainstreaming tools, approaches and dialogues

This project will be led on the ground by IUCN’s Regional office for Central and West Africa, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Local partners such as the National Committee for Urgency Needs and Rehabilitation (CONASUR) and its decentralised committees in the Northern Region of Burkina Faso, as well as the responsible ministry for climate change adaptation in Senegal will form major alliances, together with local communities on the ground in the selected areas of intervention.