Adaptation to climate change in sub-Saharan African humanitarian situations
This article was updated January 2023
International Climate Initiative (IKI)
The impact of climate change is felt in many regions across Africa every year. Environmental degradation combined with changes in demography and consumption patterns reduce the resilience of communities to withstand natural hazards and changing weather patterns. Increased competition for natural resources such as land, water and timber are widely recognized as an underlying driver of conflicts and migration. Women and girls displaced by resource scarcity are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence and other violations of their human rights.
This project, funded under the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), was a joint programme between five UN agencies, with the World Food Programme (WFP) acting as coordinator, in collaboration with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit and the World Wind Energy Association. The programme was implemented between September 2018 and April 2021. Its aim was to improve adaptation to climate change in humanitarian situations in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project targeted vulnerable communities, internally displaced people, refugees and host communities facing climate-related risks in Burundi, Sudan and Chad. There were three main outputs:
Output I: The understanding and integration of climate-environment risk planning, preparedness processes and tools are improved, involving government institutions and humanitarian organizations to determine the adaptation needs of governments and communities at risk of current and future changes to the climate.
Output II: A “no regrets strategy” is integrated into existing humanitarian programmes that focus on improving cleaner energy access, water management and reforestation, so that communities are able to adopt preventative measures that can reduce climate impacts through sustainable natural resource management that reduces people’s exposure to environmental risks and dependence on fragile ecosystems.
Output III: Outreach activities are provided to the individuals and communities, giving them the knowledge, skills and resources to address the impacts of climate change, and overall lessons learnt are captured and shared with government and other humanitarian actors to support sustainability, replicability and national prioritization of these approaches for relevant policies and investments.
299,259 people have increased adaptive capacity to address the impacts of climate. 195,460 people in Burundi and 103,799 in Sudan.
28 national governmental, UN and non-governmental organizations adopted new or improved programmes, policies and processes that consider climate, environment and energy risk analysis and adaptation measures.
2nd World Community Power Conference 2018 — a global energy conference in Mali with advocacy around energy in humanitarian settings.
Five climate risk and vulnerability analyses were conducted in Burundi, Sudan and Chad respectively.
A “no regrets strategy” was integrated into existing humanitarian programmes that focus on improving cleaner energy access, water management and reforestation:
i. 82,198 improved cookstoves adopted by households, of which 44,698 in Burundi and 37,500 in Sudan;
ii. 81 schools adopting fuel efficient cooking practices and technologies, of which 30 in Burundi and 51 in Sudan;
iii. 146 solar panels installed in schools, health clinics and refugees’ camps in Burundi;
iv. Ten health clinics and schools were enabled to provide improved health, nutrition and educational services due to solar energy interventions;
v. 2,907 hectares of forest planted/rehabilitated with environmentally appropriate variety of trees, of which 275 in Burundi and 2,632 in Sudan;
vi. 2,864,722 trees — 305,722 in Burundi and 2,559,000 in Sudan — successfully planted and with appropriate growth rate, as part of reforestation and community forest initiatives.
Individuals and communities were provided with the knowledge, skills and resources to address the impacts of climate change.
i. 374,930 people have received information on climate change impacts and options for adaptation;
ii. 33,065 people are trained in diversified livelihoods as stove and fuel production, and agroforestry;
iii. 194 stakeholder consultations involving awareness-raising and evidence sharing with regard to climate change adaptation;
iv. 1,017 stakeholders having participated in trainings/workshops related to the mainstreaming and implementation of climate change adaptation measures in future programmes and policies by government and humanitarian actors.