Innovative development planning for adaptation to climate change

Project description

Title: Innovative development planning for adaptation to climate change in Mali
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: Mali
Lead executing agency: Ministry for Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development
Overall term: 2011 to 2018


Like other countries in the Sahel, Mali is susceptible to climate variability and is suffering from the impacts of global climate change. According to forecasts, rainfall will fluctuate even more in the future and the frequency of extreme events such as drought or heavy rain will increase, as temperatures continue to rise. The poorest groups are harder hit by the impacts of climate change because they depend directly on natural resources for their livelihoods.

A detailed policy framework is in place for adapting to climate change but there has so far been little progress in implementing it. Local people are aware of the impacts of climate change but cannot access climate data or information on potential adaptation measures that would enable them to take better-informed decisions in the light of the actual situation.

The regions, districts and municipalities are in charge of their own development planning processes. However, the technical services at the ministries responsible for these bodies at their respective decentralised levels do not have the resources or expertise they would need to advise them. Furthermore, there is inadequate funding to take decentralisation forward, and the requisite decision-making capacities have not yet been devolved in the relevant sectors. As a result, local authorities generally have very little scope for implementing measures to adapt to climate change.


The issue of adaptation to climate change is integrated into development planning processes. Practical measures reduce the population’s vulnerability to climate risks.


The project is working at national, regional and local level to support sub-national planning and the realisation of measures by creating a more conducive national framework.

National guidelines and instructions for planners provide an essential foundation for development planning that takes into account impacts caused by or affecting climate change. To this end, the national guidelines on preparing decentralised development plans are being revised and supplemented with additional instruments so as to incorporate adaptation to climate change. The project also supports Mali in key international processes within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, such as implementing nationally determined contributions to mitigation and the national plan for adapting to climate change.

With assistance from the project, these new planning instruments are being trialled in 20 municipalities and six districts. Cross-sectoral dialogue is being conducted to help ensure that adaptation to climate change has a permanent place in ministerial budgets.

Another important aspect of the project is its support for decentralised local authorities in planning, implementing and monitoring adaptation measures. To broaden the impact of this, the project also identifies funding opportunities that enable the municipalities to realise their proposed measures. Documenting lessons learned on the ground in the project and publishing these for a national and international audience contributes to wide dissemination of the innovative approaches used.

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Since June 2016, more than 1,000 Malians have benefited from awareness-raising on topics such as climate change, its impacts in Mali and the integration of adaptation to climate change in local development planning. The momentum from this has the potential to initiate the practical inclusion of adaptation measures in development planning documents.

The municipalities and districts that are receiving support in preparing their development plans were selected jointly with representatives from these bodies and the technical services. Decisions on which adaptation measures to carry out were also taken by the municipalities. This has reinforced ownership and independence on the part of local decision-makers. The transparent, participatory approach, founded on objective criteria, reflects the project’s commitment to cooperation on equal terms.