Niger: strengthening climate change resilience

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In the heart of West Africa, Niger endures long periods of drought. More than US$350 million have been invested since 1980 in operational programmes, including sustainable land management.

Faced with the effects of climate change and challenges due to periods of intense drought, the Government of Niger has decided to act decisively. The goal? To help its people to fight the consequences of climate change and ensure inclusive development and growth.

Niger and its fight against the effects of climate change, particularly drought, were the subject of a round table on 15 November 2016 chaired by the Minister for Water and Sanitation, Barmou Salifou, held as a side event at COP22 in Marrakesh. The session included the screening of a film entitled "Niger taking action for the resilience of its people", that showed the degradation of the ecosystem and the responses of the authorities.

"The new strategy that the country has just adopted is based on three axes: environment, food and industry, with the goal of increased yields. Water management accounts for 44% of all large-scale project funding. The second thrust is related to the reduction of agricultural losses. Finally, the third axis relates to strengthening resilience and mustering social mobilization and a powerful drive for saving ecosystems," explained Yahaya Nazoumou, a climate change expert in the country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance.

To strengthen its people's resilience to climate change, Niger sees adaptation as paramount, through actions with strong co-benefits that strengthen the resilience of ecosystems and populations and reduce GHG emissions.

"We have focused our efforts on adaptations and mitigation at the village level, with all actions focused on communities," added Mafalda Duarte, programme manager for the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), who referred to a partnership agreed with the Sahel Institute (Institut du Sahel). Ms Duarte went on to say, "We have worked on gender and youth. We have made a lot of progress in five years [...] in all, we have 4 billion CFA francs for all these projects." It is important to put the issue of climate change at the institutional level. We have a protocol for a study on the livestock sector to improve its resilience. [...] We have results on the ground, with funding of $8.3 billion, and we have mobilized to obtain a further $5 billion."

Gareth Phillips, coordinator of the CIF Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) at the African Development Bank (AfDB), explained that "AfDB is channelling PPCR funding towards two projects in Niger with co-financing from its own resources." Both projects are designed to strengthen the resilience of the population to climate change, particularly through improving hydro meteorological methods and mobilizing water resources for food production. They also have the goal of ensuring the resilience of agricultural supply chains.

"AfDB provided Niger with technical support during the design and development phases of these projects, which offer measures that could be applied in other regions of the continent," added Mr Phillips. "In addition, best practice will enable the Bank to design future climate change resilience operations in other sectors. AfDB and the CIFs will continue to support the Nigerien experience and, with CIF support, AfDB will develop a mechanism on the benefits of adaptation (the Adaptation Benefits Mechanism), that will provide a new source of funding for climate adaptation projects."

"The World Bank is supporting Niger to develop technologies and include resilience into all its policies and programmes," said the Practice Manager for Environment and Natural Resources at the World Bank, Benoît Bosquet. Bosquet added, "The programme for pastoralism and irrigation in the Sahel and Niger are part of this. We are also working on irrigation from Lake Chad, off-grid solar energy, and in addition to that, the World Bank has issued a new systematic diagnostic in which all the statistics are classified. These combined data will underpin the future strategic programme with the World Bank and the CIFs.

Climate change mitigation actions in Niger have improved access to electricity, with the goal of reaching 60% by 2030 (against 10% in 2010), thanks to rural electrification and the promotion of renewable energy. Eventually, energy efficiency will be improved by this and the Kandadji hydropower station will be developed to supply 130 MW, in addition to a 100 MW solar project.

All these projects require $8.7 billion in funding between 2020 and 2030 - 13% in unconditional funding (own funds and public aid) and 87% conditional upon access to new sources of funding. The Green Climate Fund seems a perfect fit, with its US$1.6 billion budget dedicated to adaptation measures and its $7.1 billion for mitigation actions, in addition to $1.3 billion allocated to multiple operations. Niger wishes to raise 87% of its funding needs through the Climate Investment Funds and multilateral cooperation.