The adaptation of agriculture to climate change is one of the priority areas that require an urgent intervention, especially given the devasting effects of climate change. The ECOWAS 2022 Community Report noted that the ECOWAS region represents just 1.8% of world greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, even though ECOWAS countries contribute minimally to global warming. Yet those countries suffer the impact of climate change immensely. West Africa will experience, by 2060, a temperature increase of +2.3 °C, or a warming of +0.6 °C per decade. The region is already experiencing extreme weather conditions and precipitation are most likely to happen and this would exacerbate the already existing conditions such as floods, increased variability of rainfall, coastal and soil erosion in river basins, extremely long pockets of drought among other corollaries. These appalling conditions pose dramatic human and economic consequences for all economic sectors and for the most vulnerable sections of the population, particularly, women, young people, and the elderly (ECOWAS Community Report, 2022). 

Problem Statement

Climate Change is drastically contributing to rising food insecurity in the ECOWAS region. Some of those factors include frequent droughts, high poverty rates, rising grain prices, environmental degradation, displacement, poor trade integration, and conflict. Climate change is more concerning, especially considering that countries already lack the resilience capacity to counteract the adverse effects of these environmental and economic shocks. These shocks greatly affect agriculture productivity and exacerbate the food and nutrition insecurity within the region. These situations could worsen if concrete actions are not taken to address the adverse effects of climate change.


Expected Results/Outcomes

ECOWAS expects an improved management of risks in the region’s agriculture sectors and to expand local agro-industry and value chain development inclusive of women and youth. Climate change is negatively and significantly impacting the region with profound future ramifications on agriculture production. Adaptation solutions vary from place to place, are difficult to predict, and involve many trade-offs. The first step to adapting to climate change is understanding local risks and developing plans to manage them. The next step is acting—putting systems in place to respond to impacts we are experiencing today as we prepare for an uncertain tomorrow. Acting together to reduce the risks induced by climate change and to adapt to it is of paramount concern for ECOWAS.

Collaborating Partners & Coordinating Mechanism.

Several institutions and agencies are providing technical and financial assistance to help ECOWAS Member States to adapt to climate change and agroecology. To adequately adapt to climate change and agroecology in a more sustainable way, more technical initiatives and financial support are needed. Some instructions already contributing to this sector include ECOWAS, CILSS, UEMOA, CORAF, Global Climate Change Alliance, etc.

Spotlight of main interventions or programs achieved:

Being cognizant of the ramifications of climate change, ECOWAS has for the past decade been working assiduously to combat climate change and to institute adaptive initiatives. They have developed strategic frameworks and continue to implement programs for reducing vulnerability and adapting to climate change through partnerships and coordination at local, regional, and continental levels. Below are some fundamental initiatives and achievements of ECOWAS around climate change and adaption as well as reports or documents published in these regards.


  • ECOWAS first regional environmental policy adopted and first regional dialogue on climate change was held [2008].
  • Adoption of the ECOWAS strategic program on vulnerability reduction and adaptation to climate change achieved [2010].
  • Adoption of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (PERC) and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEP) which clearly mention climate change was held [2013].
  • Adoption of the Framework for Action and the Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture in West Africa [2015]
  • ECOWAS, CILSS and UEMOA announced strong common political ambitions, and the environment ministers of ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS member states signed a joint communiqué before COP21 [2015].
  • COP21, the birth of the Paris Agreement: the 15 ECOWAS Member States presented their CPDN, then ratified the Paris Agreement and adopted their NDCs [2015].
  • Adoption of the 2025 Strategic Orientation Framework of ECOWAP, ECOWAS regional agricultural policy, which partly integrates climate change in connection with the CSA was done in 2016.
  • Lomé Regional Strategic Workshop on Climate Action: the first step towards the current Regional and Climate Strategy: ECOWAS Member States called for the development of the first ECOWAS Regional Climate Strategy, by the Commission through a final communiqué [2019].
  • Establishment of an interdepartmental steering committee for the RCS process within the ECOWAS Commission which met 3 times in 2021 (April, June, September). And (July) regional stakeholder consultation workshop (member states, civil society, regional institutions, technical and financial partners) to validate the vision, objectives and sectoral coverage and orientations [2021].
  • Two final meetings of the Commission’s interdepartmental committee (February, April) [2022].
  • Technical validation of the ECOWAS RCS by the technical segment of national experts, then approval by the Specialized Ministerial Technical Committee on Environment (SMTC) [2022].
  • Adoption of the ECOWAS RCS at the 61st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of State and Government (July 2022) or the 88th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers [2022].


List of the main strategic, regulatory, and technical documents or reports validated and published by ECOWAS: