Support for national climate change adaptation plans in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa

Project description

Project title: Science-based support for National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes in francophone Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of sub-Saharan Africa
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: Africa, Benin
Lead executing agency: Ministère du Cadre de Vie et du Développement Durable
(Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable Development)
Overall term: 2016 to 2019


The risks of climate change are immense, particularly for the states classified by the United Nations as least developed countries (LDCs) in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. Achieving development goals under political conditions that are generally already difficult is a major challenge. In addition, natural events such as droughts, heat waves, storms and flooding are increasing. The necessary political and state structures are not yet in place and staff do not have the know-how required to carry out measures to adapt to climate change.

At the Climate Change Conference in Cancún in 2010, the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process. This process identifies the medium-term and long-term changes necessary to reduce the vulnerability of countries and their populations to climate change. By launching the NAP process, the states are integrating adaptation to climate change into their national development planning. The Paris Agreement of 2015 underscores the key importance of the NAP process in international efforts to adapt to climate change.

Initiated at international level, the NAP process offers the LDCs in sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to respond to alarming climate risks in an appropriate way. However, they lack the know-how and the organisational, participatory and governance structures that are prerequisites for sound, politically well-established NAP processes. Scientific support is vital to develop national adaptation plans, but is currently not available to a sufficient degree. This is one of the reasons for the dearth of comprehensive data on regional climate change and of analyses of the entire process of climate impact chains to serve as the basis for the adaptation process. Access to knowledge and resources is difficult for French-speaking countries, because most scientific information, events, documents and training courses are in English only.


The least developed countries in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa have enhanced capacity to design results-oriented NAP processes on a scientific basis.


The project team cooperates closely with staff and senior officers working for authorities and climate service providers, such as meteorological institutes, and organises training and continuing professional development for them. The relevant staff thus acquire the necessary skills to help shape the climate change adaptation plans actively on a scientific basis. The NAP process must subsequently be put into practice. Organisational and sectoral advisory services for the national authorities are designed to facilitate implementation of the NAP process in a straightforward manner. The project team will focus on Benin and another country as yet to be specified. In order to elaborate the adaptation plan and establish it at policy level, authorities and policy-makers require scientifically reliable climate data. The project is therefore assisting national climate service providers.

Once the key adaptation options have been identified and then compiled and communicated in the NAP process, national and local administrations require funds to take corresponding action. The project team helps them to identify and tap into sources of finance.

The officers responsible for adaptation to climate change at national and regional level progressively build up knowledge and experience in the course of their work. Through the national and regional communities of practice set up by the project, they can network with one another and plan joint activities. Experts from other French-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa are also included. A regional francophone platform enables all those involved to share knowledge, experience and best practices and to feed them into the international climate debate.

The project is being implemented in collaboration with the non-profit institute Climate Analytics. Together with national climate service providers, Climate Analytics focuses on preparing reports and analyses on the impacts and risks of climate change and adaptation to climate change on the basis of adapted existing methods.