Resilience to climate change in border agglomerations


Cross-border co-operation has been emerging in West Africa for the last 15 years. Today, opportunities for co-operation between local authorities are increasing and strategies are being developed to manage shared living areas or common natural resources, to create and manage shared infrastructure and services, and to develop sustainable economic sectors. West African communities have also been heavily involved in the COP21 and 22 negotiations, including advocating for funding mechanisms for adaptation to climate change. Climate change and risks, both natural and technological, do not stop at borders. Cross-border zones and cross-border cities in particular, are important areas of joint responsibility and management where resources can be pooled to address climate change and risks. 


With appropriate funding, governance structures and legal frameworks for cross-border management, West African cities can drive change by initiating climate change resilience strategies for cross-border zones and shared resources. However, following the establishment of the African Union Convention on Cross-Border Co-operation in 2014, legal obstacles to cross-border co-operation remain (community initiatives need to be strengthened, tools for governance made available, etc.). Since climate resilience is a cross-cutting issue, communities do not necessarily have the authority to carry out projects on all matters requiring adaptation measures or to receive international funds directly without going through the state. Legislative developments in this direction should be encouraged and legal levers should be studied and disseminated in order to maximise the benefits for West African communities.


The activities carried out in this project will address these issues by trying to answer the following questions: What cross-border adaptation measures could be implemented to build border intercommunality and resilience to climate risks? What sources of international funding are available to local authorities in West Africa for adaptation to climate change? What legal and governance solutions can be identified to enable communities to carry out and finance cross-border projects? How can local authorities be boosted in order to put into place adequate legal frameworks with the state for cross-border co-operation?



Based upon the results of the analysis on cities and borders, a few agglomerations will be selected to take part in two case studies: one at the local level and one at the regional level. 



Practical guide 

Building upon the results of the case studies, a practical guide will be produced on the legislative and financial levers for developing cross-border initiatives on resilience to climate change. The guide will be destined for the use of local authorities, members of the Sahel and West Africa Club and other development partners, regional and international organisations that want to set-up effective governance structures for cross-border projects on climate resilience.


Sharing of best practices and experiences

An important aspect of the project will be to capitalise on the outcomes of the study and on any cross-border adaptation projects that may emerge as a result. Along the process, exchanges of experiences and best practices will be facilitated between West Africa and other regions to encourage training and benchmarking of experiences between peers.  



Work on the legislative scenarios will be carried out in collaboration with the Cross-Border Operational Mission (MOT) and draw on its past experience collaborating with the African Union Border Programme, ECOWAS, UEMOA and SWAC members. The OECD Environment Directorate, regional initiatives including NEPAD and international organisations will also be approached. The CILSS/AGHRYMET data are especially relevant in terms of the physical characteristics of border cities.


This work contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal on climate action:



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