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

Project description

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 and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Countries: Africa, Benin, Senegal, Burkina Faso
Lead executing agency: Benin: Ministère du Cadre de Vie et du Développement Durable (Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable Development) Senegal: Ministère de l’Environnement et du Développment Durable (Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development) Burkina Faso: Ministère de l’Environnement, de l’EconomieVerte et du Changement Climatique (Ministry of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change)
Overall term: 2016 to 2019


The risks of climate change are immense, especially for the least developed countries (LDCs) in francophone sub-Saharan Africa. Achieving development goals is a major challenge in what is, for the most part, a difficult political environment. Extreme weather events like droughts, storms and floods are also increasing in frequency. The political and state structures required are not in place and staff do not possess the know-how to follow through with adaptations to climate change.

At the Climate Change Conference in Cancún in 2010, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to establish the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process. This defines the medium-term and long-term adaptation needs in order to reduce the vulnerability of states and citizens to climate change. The advantage of the NAP process is that states integrate adaptation to climate change into their national development planning. The 2015 Paris Agreement underlined the importance of the NAP process.

The NAP process is an international initiative and certainly offers the LDCs in sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to respond appropriately to climate threats. However, they lack know-how and the necessary organisational, participatory and governance structures to build a solid foundation and to anchor NAP processes firmly in policies. Research is a vital source of support for the development of the NAPs but is currently inadequate. This is one reason why there is a scarcity of comprehensive data on regional climate change and a lack of analyses of all the links in climate impact chains to serve as a basis for the adaptation process. Access to knowledge and resources is difficult for French-speaking countries because most of the scientific information and research data are only available in English.


The least developed countries (LDCs) in francophone sub-Saharan Africa have enhanced capacity to design results-oriented NAP processes on the basis of research.


The project team works closely with staff and senior officials in government agencies and among climate data service providers, and organises skills enhancement and advanced training courses for them. This helps the staff acquire the know-how required to play an active and informed part in developing the adaptation plans. The aim of providing organisational and technical advice to the national authorities is to enable them to put the process into practice. The project team focuses on Benin, Senegal and Burkina Faso.

Once the most important adaptation options have been identified and established in the NAP process, the administration requires funds for implementation. The project team helps to identify and tap sources of financing.

The national and regional exchange formats established by the project for practitioners will enable those responsible for adaptation to climate change to network with one another. A regional francophone platform will allow all the parties involved to share knowledge and experience with each other and to contribute to the international climate debate. Together with the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), networks and organisations of pastoralists and indigenous peoples are also receiving targeted support to help them play a more active role in the NAP process and in discussions with research scientists and governments.

The project is being carried out in cooperation with the non-profit institute Climate Analytics. Together with national climate information providers, Climate Analytics focuses on the preparation of reports and analyses on the consequences and risks of climate change and adaptation to climate change on the basis of existing, adapted methods.


  • The planning ministry in Benin was advised on integrating adaptation into the analytical memo for 2018. This document summarises the current status and outlook of the country in terms of development and is included with the annual draft budget. For the first time, it includes two subsections on the challenges of climate change, emphasising the importance of the NAP process for the country's development.
  • Based on a review of national and sectoral policies and strategies, an analysis of the existing gaps in knowledge was carried out in Benin together with 12 research institutions. This will help the climate service providers to prepare research-based climate information which can be incorporated into a country’s policies.
  • The partners were assisted in organising a side event at the Climate Change Conference in Bonn (COP23) with the purpose of presenting initial project experiences. This helped to harness project experience and share it with other key players on the international stage.

Other Languages

Further Information

Related Themes