A new project to support transboundary climate change resilience in the Volta Basin

The Adaptation Fund has funded for US$ 7.92 million a regional project submitted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in partnership with the Volta Basin Authority (VBA) and Global Water Partnership West Africa (GWP-WA). The Project intitled "Integrating Flood and Drought Management and Early Warning Systems for Climate Change Adaptation in the Volta Basin" will contribute to improve the resilience of countries sharing the Volta Basin to flood and drought risks and to ensure sustainable socio-economic development of the riparian populations.

The project that was approved by the Adaptation Fund (AF) at the 32nd meeting of its Board of Directors held from 9 to 12 October 2018 in Bonn, Germany will be implemented till 2023.

The inception workshop of this project was organized on 25 and 26 June in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire by the three implementing partners (WMO, GWP-WA and VBA) in collaboration with the six riparian countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Togo).

This workshop brought together the authorities of Côte d’Ivoire in charge of the Meteorology and Water Sector, National Focal Points of VBA Member Countries, representatives of the Meteorological Services of the VBA Member Countries, the members of the Executive Secretariat of Global Water Partnership West Africa (GWP-WA), of the Executive Management of VBA, representatives and Experts of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), representatives of the Designated National Authorities of the Adaptation Fund of the VBA countries, representatives of the Global Water Partnership Organization (GWPO) and representatives   of   disaster   management   organizations   and   regional organizations.

The workshop provided an opportunity to share information on the project with key stakeholders in the Volta Basin countries. A common global understanding was built on the objectives, components, benefits and implementation strategy of the project at the level of national and regional institutions and local authorities, thus creating a solid basis for the success of the project.

Speaking at the official ceremony, GWP-WA chair, Prof. Amadou Hama MAIGA said “The Project we are launching today is another opportunity for GWP-WA to strengthen its partnerships and, above all, to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 and in particular its target 6.5 in the West African region, a target relating to the implementation by 2030 of integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate”.

On behalf of WMO Secretary-General Mr. Bernard GOMEZ, WMO Representative for North, Central and West Africa, highlighted the adverse effects of climate change around the world, including floods and droughts. He said “It is therefore not surprising that the World Economic Forum's 2018 and 2019 risk reports list four of the five most pressing risks facing our world as related to weather, climate and water conditions”.

The VBA Executive Director, Mr. Robert DESSOUASSI welcomed the advent of the project which, he said, is of crucial importance to the VBA since it aims to develop the capacities not only of national and regional institutions but also of local communities in the integrated management of both floods and droughts, which are largely contributing to aggravate poverty in the Volta basin.

The official opening ceremony of the inception workshop was under the effective chairmanship of the Minister of Water and Forestry, line Minister of the Volta Basin of Côte d'Ivoire, represented by the Deputy Director of Cabinet, Col. ME Kouamé Martial who highlighted the need to share hydrometeorological information between countries for the success of the project. He then expressed deep gratitude and appreciation of the countries to the technical and financial partners.

After fruitful debates on all aspects, participants recommended among other that implementing partners propose a large-scale communication mechanism for the visibility of the project be proposed, ensure that information on the project is shared at the country level with workshop participants and other key stakeholders, take into account the sovereign roles and responsibilities of national flood and drought management structures in the implementation of the project.  VBA member countries are requested to make arrangements for the maintenance and upkeep of the hydrometeorological data collection networks to be installed as part of the project.