The ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (ARAA) provides local stakeholders in West African agriculture and its partners with a range of tools such as guides, notes to decision-makers and summaries for better adaptation of agricultural practices to climate change. Drawing on the experience of thirty climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and agroecology pilot projects carried out in 2020-2022 – including fifteen with the support of the GCCA+ West Africa project, funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France under the political leadership of ECOWAS and in partnership with CILSS - the Agency wanted to capitalize on the best local adaptation practices experienced at the regional level. Focus on the 10 key tools that it publishes on its sites https://www.araa.org/ and https://ecowap.ecowas.int/
In West Africa, climate change is a major reality which has a strong impact on the agricultural sector, the pillar of the regional economy.
The West African region has been identified as one of the climate hotspots : 9 of the 30 most vulnerable countries in the world are part of the ECOWAS-CILSS region according to the Global Adaptation Index. According to a recent study carried out by WASCAL (West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) for ECOWAS, estimates predict a reduction in GDP of up to 11.7% in 2050, particularly impacting the agricultural sector. . This sector represents more than a third of the region's GDP and generates most of the income of 60% of the population.
Climate change is reflected in particular by an increase in average temperature in all countries in the region and greater variability in precipitation regimes. By 2050, all of these factors will contribute to a disruption of crop cycles, a reduction in productivity and reductions in yields for the majority of crops, particularly for basic foodstuffs (millet, sorghum, corn, rice, cowpea) but also export crops such as cocoa. Livestock breeding and transhumance are and will be impacted in the future by more intense and frequent droughts, with increasingly earlier transhumant movements, conflicts in host areas around access to resources and land. Without major interventions to strengthen the adaptive capacity of key socio-economic sectors, these changes risk seriously compromising food security and people's livelihoods.
The capacity of the West African agricultural sector to massively transform itself to adapt to the impacts of climate change will be a determining factor for the region's economic growth and food security in a context of sustained population growth.
The field pilot projects implemented as part of the GCCA+ AO project are part of these concrete actions carried out by ECOWAS within the framework of ECOWAP and the SRC. These pilot projects mainly aimed to help support innovation and the emergence of practices for adapting West African family farming to climate change.
At a time when adaptation to climate change is a priority issue and where experiences have shown situations of “ maladaptation ”, this regional capitalization has explored “the key success factors of successful adaptation to climate change”.
Improving the design and implementation framework for agricultural climate change adaptation projects
To strengthen the consideration of the adaptation dimension in the design of calls for projects (APP), the implementation and monitoring-evaluation of projects in view of these criteria, ECOWAS has worked on several capitalization tools aimed at, among others, donors and cooperation agencies:
· Note to decision-makers “Feedback for better integration of adaptation to climate change in the design of calls for projects and public policies in West Africa” (available by clicking here version EN , FR , PT ) : primarily for use by ECOWAS member states and decision-makers operating in the region, this note carries several key messages, particularly in terms of supporting civil society project leaders in their connection with local, national and regional approaches to scale up innovative practices tested, or the need to strengthen knowledge of climate vulnerabilities or develop CSA and agroecology strategies differentiated according to ecoregions and national specificities.
· Methodological guide for improving the project process – from idea to follow-up: available in pdf version (available by clicking here version EN, FR, PT) and in a dynamic synthetic version (EN, FR, PT), this guide questions how to construct a call for project proposals (APP) which allows effective consideration of the adaptation of agriculture to climate change.
· Overview of best practices for setting up and implementing adaptation projects in agriculture, for use by project leaders (available EN, FR, PT): these practices are detailed here step by step of the project cycle, based on feedback from CSA and agroecology pilot projects carried out by CSOs between 2020 and 2022 with the support of GCCA+ AO.
Promote the operational content of CSA and agroecology pilot projects
With this second axis of regional capitalization, best practices for access to climate services, water resources management and capacity building could be analyzed and promoted. Mainly intended for CSA stakeholders, these tools aim to improve practices for adapting to climate change in the implementation of agricultural projects.
· Notes to decision-makers for the integration of good practices of 1. Climate services (EN, FR, PT), 2. Water resource management (EN, FR, PT), 3. Capacity building (EN, FR, PT) by ECOWAS, its partners and Member States
· Methodological guide for harmonizing the capitalization of pilot projects : available in pdf version (EN, FR, PT) and in a dynamic synthetic version in (FR), this guide is intended for project leaders to better distinguish capitalization, monitoring-evaluation and communication, rely on guidelines for capitalization of agricultural adaptation projects to climate change, with a capitalization sheet model.
· General public summary on the contribution of pilot projects to adaptation and mitigation (EN, FR, PT): this summary reviews each of the fifteen (15) CSA and agroecology pilot projects implemented between 2020 and 2022 by civil society organizations with the support of GCCA+ AO.
· Technical sheets for “Good agroecological , resilient and low-carbon practices”
Please note that these technical sheets will also be available in a digital library managed by CILSS.
These capitalization products were produced with the support of the GCCA+AO project through documentary reviews, field surveys and a collective exchange of the first results with regional stakeholders during a workshop which brought together virtually in September 2022 a hundred participants representatives and members of farmers' organizations, producers, regional organizations, scientific centers, CSO PTF etc.