Participants from 12 West African countries confirmed the urgent need for community based adaptation to respond to the adverse effects of climate change at a West Africa Learning Event in Cotonou, 3-6th September 2013. 72 participants from a diverse range of 36 NGO and research organisations and 14 government organisations shared and reflected on their experiences, successes, challenges, opportunities, questions and future perspectives across the region.
This communiqué is the collective product of these deliberations conveying strong messages on the crucial need to develop effective adaptation practice
and policies to secure livelihoods and realise resilient development and economic growth in the face of an uncertain and changing climate.
Climate change challenges in West Africa, the case for CBA
Climate change and variability is already changing rainfall patterns, temperatures and causing previously unknown extreme weather events across West Africa. These phenomena are challenging both traditional mechanisms for maintaining resilient livelihoods in the face of a wider set of shocks and stresses and the effectiveness of development opportunities, resulting in increasing vulnerability. More impacts are anticipated in future as climate conditions become more complex and uncertain:increases in crop failures, livestock losses, pest and disease outbreaks and the further degradation of natural, land and water resources are likely. While climate change response strategies are in place or planned at national level, and Community-based adaptation (CBA) is increasingly recognized as part of a sustainable and effective response to climate change, coherent support to practical adaptation by the most
vulnerable groups is still at a beginning. CBA adds a new analytical lens and measures to existing sustainable development and risk reduction efforts, but the same criteria for successful results apply.