WRI pays visit to Niger’s “last mile”

The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the UN Capital Development Fund’s Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL) programme arranged several field visits in the rural areas of Niger’s Dosso region. The reason for the trip included a visit by a WRI consultant to learn from the ongoing work of LoCAL in the country for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

The field mission included meeting with the mayors and committees of the communes where LoCAL has projects on the ground. Two areas were highlighted during the visit, which are the “last mile” communes of Dogonkiria and Sokorbé in the Dosso district of Niger, an area that is vulnerable to climate change and requires extensive studies with regards to climate adaptation.

Mr. Geoff Peterson, WRI consultant, explained: “UNCDF's mission statement is that we go to the last mile. We’ve seen that last mile and there are real results on the ground, changing people’s lives for the better. Let us give that last mile a few more inches, or more, and the impact is so much bigger than any measurement. A bit more effort, and we can stretch that mile to a sustainable livelihood.”

The Management Committee of the rehabilitated well in Fare Gorou Kaina explains that "by increasing the water level of the well, by protecting it against weather hazards through an enhanced design, LoCAL is facilitating the drawing of water [for] the women of the villages."

Upon completion of the 5-day trip, Mr. Peterson met with Mr. Bila Maïna, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, asserted the need for LoCAL in these often overseen areas. He said: “I would like to thank the UNCDF LoCAL team for the projects. I am very impressed by how much the programme accomplished with the resources it had. [LoCAL] was also quick with its delivery on the ground, which is appreciated.”

Mr. Maïna welcomed the accomplishments of the LoCAL programme and hopes for the programme to continue its support in the hardest hit areas by climate change, as there is still a long way to go towards adaptation to weather changes. There are still many areas in Niger’s vast landscape that need the programme’s attention.

Mrs. Sophie De Coninck, Project Manager for LoCAL Africa, commended the work of the LoCAL Niger team: “Niger is one [of] the last 3 countries that joined LoCAL and within, less than a year, it is already catching up with many of the earlier country programmes, delivering concrete adaptation investments, preparing for its first performance-based assessment and incorporating lessons in the mechanism itself. This is truly impressive and very encouraging for the future of LoCAL Niger”.

Fakri Karim, LoCAL Programme Manager, added: “As a global mechanism, LoCAL is supporting local governments' capacities in LDCs to access climate finance and increase resilience at the very local “last mile” level. With the support from WRI, the LoCAL programme is developing the Climate Change Adaptation monitoring framework to allow local government to check to what extent their climate change investment contribute to increase their community resilience."

The LoCAL Technical Committee of Niger also stressed the importance of collaboration between stakeholders.  They expressed satisfaction at the synergy between the partners and the need for them to expand communal work, especially for a pilot programme.  Noting that it has been a positive collaboration which many locals in the last mile of Niger have and will reap the benefits from presently and in the future.