Benin was the first country in Africa to join UNCDF's LoCAL programme. It was first piloted in three communes of Atacora-Donga, in Northern Region. Additional communes joined with the co-financing from the Government of Benin, opening the door to many more. The National Fund for Environment and Climate as nominated as Benin’s national implementing entity to pursue accreditation with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), with a view to scaling up LoCAL.
The example of the Toucountouna bridge illustrates well what LoCAL is about: effectively channeling international climate adaptation finance to the most remote areas and the most vulnerable people in the world.
The 2008 evaluation of Benin's national vulnerabilities - Programme d’Action National d’Adaptation aux changements climatiques (National Action Programme for Climate Change Adaptation, PANA) - identified three major climate risks: drought; late, heavy rains; and flooding. The resources with the highest exposure to these risks are drainage basins, subsistence agriculture and water resources. The most exposed social groups are small farmers, market gardeners and emerging farmers, and fishermen. A vulnerability and adaptation to climate change study identified four vulnerable sectors: the coast, water resources, forestry and agriculture.
The communes in Benin are independent in both financial and management terms, and a national funding mechanism for local development, the Fonds d’Appui au Développement des Communes [Local Development Support Fund, FADeC] is supporting them. Commune authorities in Benin are responsible for environmental protection, as confirmed by the Environmental Governance Charter. Despite the role commune should play in the national effort to plan and implement appropriate adaptation measures, the 2003 National Adaptation Strategy does not specify any particular role for them.
Objectives, Results and Activities
The aim of LoCAL‐Benin is to demonstrate and highlight the role that commune authorities could play 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 commune authorities to ensure better local governance of adaptation to climate change;
- fund infrastructure and local services that are resilient to climate change;
- promote increased awareness among commune authorities and local communities about the impact of climate change phenomena and the relevance and necessity of local adaptation/resilience measures.
The results expected of LoCAL Benin are as follows:
- Capacity building (in financial, technical and governance terms) in pilot communes with regard to programme management of climate change adaptation/resilience activities;
- Methods and procedures to integrate adaptation/resilience to climate change in planning processes and allocation of commune resources designed and tested for subsequent extension to all communes in the country;
- Climate change adaptation measures funded in a transparent and participatory manner, thanks to climate resilience grants (based on commune performance as measured on an annual basis);
- A commune performance evaluation system (indicators and evaluation method) developed and tested for subsequent extension to all communes in the country;
- Greater awareness among commune councillors and local populations of climate change phenomena and the vulnerabilities arising from them;
- Lessons learned from LoCAL-Benin implementation documented, shared and disseminated on a wide scale.
- The memorandum of understanding was signed with the Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Governance, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance at the end of 2013. 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 LoCAL-Benin Technical Committee was set up within the Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable Development to guide and support the programme.
- LoCAL-Benin has initially been implemented in the northern communes of Boukoumbé, Copargo and Toukountouna (with a total population of 195,068). These were selected as pilots as part of the country’s most vulnerable agro-ecological areas and because of the municipalities’ institutional capacity to handle concerns related to climate change. With the first PBCRG cycle, LoCAL has supported and supplemented the regular funding transfers the communes were already receiving through the FADeC by around 8.5%.
- The positive pilot experience secured the backing of the National Fund for Environment and Climate - FNEC (Fonds National pour l’Environnement et le Climat) in 2017, when three additional communes – Cobly, Matéri and Ouaké in the Atacora and Donga Departments – received $200,000 to plan and budget climate change adaptation activities with LoCAL support. Additionally, the communes of Banikoara, Karimana and Malanville began Phase II and initiated implementation of a cycle of adaptation measures in 2017.
- FNEC was nominated as Benin’s national implementing entity to pursue accreditation with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), with a view to scaling up LoCAL. The LoCAL Secretariat helped draft a concept note to the GCF to this end.
- LoCAL piloted localized climate risk assessments and established a system that will enable local governments to collect, archive and analyse meteorological, climate and socioeconomic data and undertake local climate projections to inform their planning.
- Several information and awareness workshops have been held, including one on lessons learned in which local governments exchanged their experiences regarding climate change adaptation. At another, technical staff in participating local governments were trained in improving their understanding of existing tools to integrate climate change adaptation into local planning and budgeting processes. Local government staff in Benin have also benefited from training on data collection and archiving; this has improved local capacity in monitoring climate change adaptation–related interventions.
Adaptation Measures and Investments
So far, 29 adaptation measures in 9 communes - Copargo, Toucountouna, Boukombé, Banikoara, Karimama, Malanville, Cobly, Matéri, Ouaké - have been identified and are under implementation. Approximately 68,000 people are expected to benefit from those investments, 55 % of whom are women.
The first round of planning and budgeting for LoCAL PBCRGs focused on the construction of bridging structures to facilitate circulation of goods and people during the rainy season. Adaptation measures planned during 2018 mainly focused on the following
- Rehabilitation/improvements of community ponds for multiple purposes, including revitalizing the local aquaculture sector and providing water for agricultural activities throughout the year (cattle and irrigation);
- Irrigation projects and yield maintenance interventions for vegetable gardens;
- Capacity-building activities on climate-resilient crop varieties (rice);
- Pumping systems for potable water distribution in nine rural and remote community villages, which are expected to serve more than 3,500 people.
- By providing PBCRGs in addition to regular transfers, LoCAL has helped make the Beninese public funding system more robust and transparent. Special attention was paid to the design of the mechanism – in particular, in the choice of minimum access conditions and performance criteria for local governments.
- A great asset for LoCAL-Benin is the fact that the PBCRG model is fully aligned with the country’s national investment fund transfer system for local authorities. This will improve and broaden confidence in the system over the long term, thus helping local governments obtain access to international adaptation finance.
- The bridging phase for moving into consolidation (Phase II) will continue to be undertaken throughout 2019 with government co-financing, and a total of nine local governments will form part of the programme and will receive second- or third-cycle PBCRGs in 2019.
- Climate risk assessments for the three new local governments of Banikoara, Karimana and Malanville will inform the planning, selection and integration of new adaptation measures in commune development and investment plans and budgets. A system will be put in place so that these assessments can be updated by local governments in the future and replicated in other communes.
- Periodic assessments, reviews and results-based management will drive continuous revisions and improvements in order to happen to lay the groundwork for further programme expansion.
- LoCAL will provide technical assistance and capacity development support of the accredited national implementing entity to the GCF, as well as to subnational governments.
Government of Benin
- Mr. Médard Comlan Ouinakonhan, LoCAL National Coordinator (MCVDD)
- Mr. Martin Pepin AINA, DG/Environment and Climate, National Director LoCAL
Photo Credit: UNCDF LoCAL in Benin / Nasser AlQatami