Benin and Senegal in quest to strengthen resilience to climate change impacts

Following country needs assessment missions in Benin and Liberia carried out by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) between December 2013 and February 2014, an ECA team returned to the two countries in July to finalize support agreements.

In Benin, the ECA team led by Fatima Denton, Director of the Special Initiatives Division, met with the President, H.E. Dr. Yayi Boni and reviewed priority areas the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) of ECA can partner with the country in building capacity and implementing activities that reduce exposure of vulnerable groups to climate change impacts. In particular, the ECA reiterated its support to the President’s reforestation initiative dubbed “ten million souls, ten million trees”, that targets the planting of ten million trees a year. The project has a great potential for up-scaling to regional level to address trans-boundary issues such as protection of catchment areas as well as stabilizing hydrological systems which benefit more than one country, and would in addition present regional cooperation co-benefits.

On ECA’s invitation, the president accepted to attend the ClimDev-Africa pre-event at the UN Climate Summit scheduled for 22nd September 2014.

In readiness for commencement of the Benin-ECA collaboration, five intervention areas were agreed on and the end of July was set as the date for signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU). Since national reforestation investment programme involves large sums of money, ACPC will support the government of Benin to develop bankable projects which can be submitted to the ClimDev-Africa Special Fund (CDSF) or other partners for funding.

On the 21st July 2014, the ECA team was in Senegal where the outcome of the December 2013 country needs assessment by ACPC and a draft MOU were discussed. Government officials were led by Mme Mariline Diarra from the «Directrice de l’Environnement Et des Etablissements Classes (DEEC) » and included representatives from the ministry of finance, academic institutions and «Comité national sur les Changements climatiques (COMNACC) » members. A technical and legal team was selected to refine the logical framework of the MOU and align it to available budget, with a view to signing the MOU between ECA and the Government of Senegal in early August 2014.

It was agreed that nation-wide coastal defenses programmes involve large sums of money and ACPC will therefore support the government of Senegal to develop bankable projects, which will be submitted to CDSF or to other partners for funding.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 9th August