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 Développement Durable (Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development); Burkina Faso: Ministère de l’Environnement, de l’Economie Verte et du Changement Climatique (Ministry of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change)
Overall term: 2016 to 2021


The risks of climate change are immense for the least developed countries (LDCs) in francophone sub-Saharan Africa. Achieving development goals is a challenge in what is often 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 medium-term and long-term requirements to improve the ability of states and citizens to adapt to climate change. The NAP process involves states integrating adaptation to climate change into their national development planning. The 2015 Paris Agreement underlined the importance of the NAP process.

The NAP process certainly offers the countries in sub-Saharan Africa the opportunity to respond appropriately to climate threats. However, they lack know-how and the necessary structures for organisation, participation and governance to build a solid foundation and to anchor NAP processes firmly in policies. Scientific backing is hugely important to the development of the NAPs but is currently inadequate. This is why there is a scarcity of comprehensive, context-specific data and analyses 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 partner countries are in a better position to design results-oriented NAP processes on the basis of research.


The project works with government agencies, climate data service providers and national climate funds. In-service training courses provide the staff with the know-how required to play an informed part in developing adaptation plans based on scientific findings. The aim of providing organisational and technical advice to the national authorities is to enable them to put what they have learned into practice. The project focuses on Benin, Senegal and Burkina Faso.

Once the most important adaptation options have been identified and established in the NAP process, the states require funds in order to implement them. The project helps to identify and tap into national and international sources of financing.

National and regional exchange formats enable those responsible for adaptation to network with one another. A regional francophone platform will allow knowledge and experience to be shared and contributed to the international climate debate. Together with the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), the project is also providing targeted support to networks and organisations of nomadic herders and indigenous peoples. This should 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, the institute prepares various reports and analyses on the basis of existing, adapted methods on issues such as the consequences and risks of climate change and adaptation to climate change.


  • The three countries have integrated adaptation to climate change into various national strategies. Benin has aligned the national health care plan and national development plan with it. Burkina Faso and Senegal have integrated adaptation to climate change into the action plan for integrated water resources management and their national development strategies.
  • In Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal, a total of eight vulnerability analyses have been conducted in the areas of health care, agriculture, coastal zones and water resources. At the same time, national researchers have received training in the latest methods and in using the most up-to-date models for forecasting climate impacts.
  • Building on the vulnerability analyses, five concept notes for adaptation projects in Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal have been developed on a participatory basis. The concept notes are submitted to the Green Climate Fund in order to receive funding.
  • A series of ten webinars in French has been developed. Thirty presenters from public administration and research from 12 countries shared their experiences with adaptation issues in these sessions. The webinars, which were followed by more than 1,500 listeners from 50 countries, can be found at

Additional information