Addressing climate variability and change also answers basic development needs like access to safe drinking water, or gender issues. While working to improve local knowledge and understanding of climate risks and vulnerabilities to better inform adaptation choices, LoCAL Niger has taken a pragmatic approach to support the local government capacity in dealing with the climate change effect and started increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable populations through ‘no-regret’ adaptation measures.
Decentralization in Niger provides for two levels of local authority – the commune and the region – which are administered by elected councils. Both are legal entities and have financial autonomy, with their own budget, staff and estates, as per Article 3 of the General Local Authorities Code (CGCT).
The CGCT gives communes general powers (as per Article 20) to provide public services that meet the needs of the population and that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the state or region. It also grants a wide range of specific powers – covering, among others, the environment and the management of natural resources – which the state is likely to transfer gradually through devolution decrees made by the Cabinet (Articles 163–164). Budget transfers from the state are handled through three mechanisms: the Decentralization Support Fund, the Cross-Subsidization Fund of the National Agency for Local Authority Funding (ANFICT) and taxes reassigned by the state (Article 224 et seq.).
Niger, like other countries in West Africa, has been hard hit by the effects of climate change, and addressing these is a central plank of UNCDF’s commitment in the country. Climate change in Niger is evidenced by, among other factors, (i) a reduction in average annual rainfall, combined with limited temporal and geographic distribution when it does occur; (ii) increasingly high temperatures; (iii) more frequent periods of drought; (iv) marked deterioration in soil quality; and (v) greater ecosystem fragility. The degradation of land potentially suitable for cultivation and the dependence of the country’s farms on rainfall make Niger extremely vulnerable to random climatic events.
Drafted in 2013, the National Policy on Climate Change aims, in general terms, to contribute to sustainable development by reducing the negative impacts of climate change. Specifically, it aims to strengthen the population’s capacity for adaptation and the resilience of ecological, economic and social systems in relation to climate change, and to incorporate climate change into planning tools for socioeconomic development actions at the national, regional and local levels
Objectives, results and activities
The aim of LoCAL-Niger is to demonstrate and highlight the role of communes in promoting local climate change adaptation/resilience measures through integrating climate funding in budget transfer mechanisms and planning/allocation of local resources. More specifically, it aims to:
- Strengthen technical and institutional capacities in the pilot communes to ensure better local governance of adaptation to climate change;
- Enable communes to create infrastructure and local services that are resilient to climate change through targeted funding;
- Promote increased awareness among commune councillors and local communities about the impact of climate change phenomena and the relevance of a territorial approach to adaptation/resilience.
- Two communes in the Dosso region, Sokorbé (department of Loga) and Dogonkyria (department of Dogondoutchi), have been selected for the LoCAL-Niger pilot phase; these have a combined population of 101,569.
- The performance-based climate resilience grant (PBCRG) mechanism has been developed and includes minimum conditions for access, performance criteria and an indicative investment list to inform the process of integrating adaptation into local planning and budgeting.
- The Memorandum of Understanding intended to put grants into practice was signed in February 2015; national and regional-level (Dosso) launch workshops were held in June 2015.
- The communes have received support and close monitoring in implementing their first investment cycle.
- The LoCAL-Niger Technical Committee has been set up under the authority of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD), the Ministry of the Interior, Public Safety and Decentralization and Customary and Religious Affairs (MISPDAC) and the National Environmental Council for Sustainable Development (CNEDD). The committee coordinates and monitors implementation of the LoCAL pilot phase.
Adaptation measures and investments:
- Local government of Sokorbé: at Baziga in Sokorbé, 55 hectares of degraded lands have been rehabilitated using semi-circular bunds to combat erosion. These bunds slow rainwater run-off and encourage greater soil infiltration, thus better supporting plants’ water needs. This work was undertaken by local populations as a cash-for-work programme. A management committee has been established to make the infrastructure sustainable, protect the site and ensure that beneficiaries are able to enjoy it equally. This activity mobilized 1014 people including 518 women (51%), 325 young people and 171 men. During the rainy season (juillet 2017) the site will be seeded and planted with 18,000 plants. Contracts are signed with nurserymen for the supply of seedlings. Two wells have been rehabilitated at Faré Gorou Kaina and Kimia Koara. This rehabilitation work increased the water level, protects the wells from climate variation by raising their coping by 0.5 metres, and installed gates and troughs to help village women draw water. An organizational mechanism and management committee for the rehabilitated wells have been established in each village. For 2017 two other wells are being rehabilitated. Also Training and equipment of 50 phytosanitary brigadiers. These brigadiers, once operational, will help to reduce the incidence of attacks by pests on crops and to limit the loss of production due to crop pests.
- Local Gouvernment of Dogon Kiria: six adaptation measures have been implemented in Dogonkyria. Three capacity-building initiatives have been conducted: (i) training and equipping 50 phytosanitary volunteers, (ii) establishing five community early warning and emergency response systems and (iii) training community workers in climate change issues. Three wells have also been dug or rehabilitated. For 2017, adaptation measures concern: 4 wells including 3 rehabilitations, 60 ha of degraded land recovered in the form of cash for work and training on improved households.
- Performance evaluation for first year: the performance of the two pilotes local government was evaluated by a government team supported by an international consultant and UNCDF. The two pilot local governments have met the minimum conditions for access to grants from LoCAL, so that their maintenance for the year 2017 has been verified as well as the triggers for grant access. The overall performance is 75% for Sokorbé and 70% for Dogon Kiria.
- As the impact of climate change is local and affects multiple sectors, it is important to allow local authorities to choose the priority activities to be funded by LoCAL grants on a consultative basis. A local adaptation action programme, informed by climate data and vulnerability and adaptation analyses, must therefore follow on from the list of indicative investments developed when the programme was first established.
- It is essential to design a funding channel for LoCAL grants that is fully aligned with the existing system of inter-governmental transfers. As a result, funds must be fully integrated with other resources available locally. An intermediate funding channel has been established in Niger for the first year. In year two, LoCAL will use the channel from the Local Authorities National Investment Agency (ANICT).
- The two pilot communes are preparing for the performance evaluation of the second annual round of investments. This evaluation is planned for July 2017.
- The two pilot communes will receive support for climate risk, vulnerability and adaptation analyses to ensure that these issues are effectively taken in to account in local planning and in the resulting investments. This exercise is planned for September 2016.
- The adaptation measures provided for in the 2017 annual adaptation plan are under way with an implementation rate of about 80%.
- LoCAL-Niger is exploring partnerships for Phase II, which aims to provide support to more communes throughout the country.
Government of Niger
- Mr. Sani Mahazou
Director General of the Environment and Sustainable Development, MESUDD, firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
- Mr. Harouna Oumarou
Director of the Environmental Economy and Promotion of Non-Lignous Forest Products, MESUDD
- Mr. Salissou Yahouza
Deputy Director of the Environmental Economy and Promotion of Non-Lignous Forest Products, Directorate General of the Environment and Sustainable Development