Guest Article #95
The New CILSS Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management Platform
The Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel; CILSS in French) was created in 1973, after the devastating droughts that hit the region. CILSS currently has 13 member States: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Bissau Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
CILSS' mandate is to invest in food security research and fight against the effects of drought and desertification, with the aim of achieving a new ecological equilibrium in the Sahel. The CILSS Executive Secretary is based in Burkina Faso. The Committee has two technical institutions, the AGRHYMET Regional Center, based in Niger, in charge of information, research and training; and the Sahel Institute, based in Mali, in charge of agro-socio-economic research coordination.
Climate change impacts in West Africa are particularly severe due to the low resilience capacity of the majority of local populations. Moreover, data and information on climate change, and particularly on adaptation, are sparse and sometimes difficult to obtain. One of the greatest challenges of the region in coping with the impacts of climate change is therefore access to data, state of the art science, news, policies, as well as tools and funding opportunities that are specific to the West African region. West African stakeholders often lack the capacity and information related to climate change issues. The CILSS climate change and sustainable management platform has been designed to fill this gap.
The platform is a joint effort funded by the FFEM (Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial) and the technical assistance offered by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, implemented by the “Adaptation to climate change in agriculture and water sectors in West Africa” project team based at the AGRHYMET regional Center.
The platform was launched in November 2012 and allows visitors to find key information on topics related to, inter alia, climate science, adaptation, mitigation, and governance, with a focus on the agricultural and water sectors. A special section is dedicated to tools available for download or accessible on the web. For example, many tools dedicated to mainstreaming climate change, or carrying out vulnerability and impacts assessments are presented.
The platform also features a resources section, which lists documents focused on African issues, including documents published by the CILSS, such as “les études Sahel” or the special AGRHYMET Regional Center bulletin dedicated to climate change in Sahel. West African policies, such as national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), national communications, or regional documents , as well as documents with an international scope,such as the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are available for download. In addition, a database is divided into three parts, namely institutions, training and AMMA. The latter is an international interdisciplinary programme dealing with the West African Monsoon, its variability and its impacts on communities in the region. The AMMA database offers scientific data on this phenomenon.
Another section of the platform is dedicated to the ongoing projects of CILSS and AGRHYMET, including: FFEM CC on the integration of climate change adaptation in the water and agricultural sectors in West Africa; the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev) - Institutional Support to African Climate Institution Project (ISACIP); the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA); and the Regional Program on Sustainable Land Management and adaptation to climate change (PRGDT). The platform also presents technical and engineering training programmes implemented at the AGRHYMET regional center.
So far, the “opportunity,” “agenda,” and “news” pages, featuring regularly updated information, are the most popular ones. They provide information on, for example, up-to-date funding opportunities, training courses, workshops, and calls for projects. The platform also offers a presentation of the CILSS and lists useful links. The majority of the information presented is adapted to, and focused on, the West African context.