Adapting to climate change is a key factor for West Africa which depends largely on rain-fed agriculture and transhumant livestock rearing. Partly due to the uncertainty of climate variability in the region, climate model projections provide little guidance to inform decision making on adaption and resilience-building. Another major issue in the region is urbanisation, where close to half the population lives in cities. This significant shift in demographics will play an important role in climate change and should be considered in adaptation policies.  For this reason, in 2017-18, the SWAC Secretariat is focusing on resilience to climate change in border agglomerations. 

Resilience to climate change in border agglomerations

At the global scale, urban areas are responsible for over 70% of CO2 emissions and close to half of greenhouse gas emissions. The percentages are roughly the same in West Africa. Climate change and risk, both natural and technological, do not recognise borders. Cross-border territories, cities in particular, are or should become areas of joint responsibility and management that pool their resources to address climate and risks. What types of climate funding are suited to urban settings (post COP21)? What cross-border mechanisms are possible in terms of both funding and development? Climate is a cross-cutting issue and communities do not necessarily have the authority to carry out projects on matters requiring adaptation measures or to receive international funds directly without going through the state. The work conducted by SWAC will seek to assess the current state of cross-border law and promote shared legislative and financial levers that could improve the prospects for cross-border entities to strengthen resilience to climate change in border cities.


Supporting resilience in the wake of food and nutrition insecurity is also an essential tool for climate change adaptation and variability in the Sahel and West Africa. Climate change is a dominant risk factor for chronic and severe food and nutrition crises in the region, provoking severe consequences for the poorest communities of the region. The Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) Sahel and West Africa will pursue its advocacy to promote tools to better adapt to climate variability and reinforce resilience strategies to climate shocks. Recently, SWAC supported regional dialogue on food and nutrition security and climate change in the lead up to COP21 with the Sahel and West Africa Club Forum at Expo Milano, and the signing of the Milan and COP 21 declarations by AGIR.

The Secretariat's work contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action.


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