The countdown for IDMP WAF

The Integrated Drought Management Project in West Africa (IDMP-WAF) was officially launched at the workshop held on 28 and 29 January 2015 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Forty participants including 4 women, mainly from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, Sweden, Switzerland and representing regional (CILSS, ECOWAS) and international organizations (ACMAD, WMO and GWPO) took part in this meeting placed under the patronage of the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources, Sanitation and Food Security of Burkina Faso.

"I can assure you that our States with specialized agencies to whom we gave mandate will accompany the practical implementation of this program," said Mr. YE Ouébabéni, Technical Adviser representing the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources, Sanitation and Food Security of Burkina Faso. He continued "to express on behalf of all [the] countries involved in this program, the gratitude to the technical and financial partners of the water sector, namely, the Global Water Partnership, the World Meteorology Organization, the Danish cooperation who support us in the implementation of this major project."

Dr. José Camacho, the scientific officer speaking on behalf of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which jointly initiated with GWP the program, said that "when we speak of drought in the Sahel we are talking about the daily management since the dry season runs from late October to May in several places." Not only do many countries in the West African region have long dry seasons but "West Africa is the only region in the world with 30 years of continuous rainfall below average" noted for his part the Chair of Global Water Partnership West Africa (GWP-WA).

Speaking about the adverse effects of climate change with floods and droughts, Professor Abel AFOUDA recommended that "the World must act now to avoid the water crisis. Meeting water needs requires both well-documented policies, deep theoretical expertise and appropriate practical measures”.

Experts invited to the workshop reviewed the documentation from the regional and discussions went on the implementation strategy in group sessions. West Africa is a region where there are several institutions and projects working in the field of drought management at regional and country levels. Synergies should be looked for in order to avoid duplication of efforts and find the necessary complementarities through better coordination of actions.

The participants followed the presentations on the Global Integrated Drought Management Program (IDMP), the regional project and implementation document. These presentations highlighted the overall objective of the program that is to help the stakeholders at all levels by providing practical and strategic directions and disseminating information and scientific knowledge and best practices on integrated drought management.

Three (3) specific objectives, four (4) components and eight (8) work packages have been defined to achieve results of IDMP WAF.

Mainly at the end of the three years of implementation (2015-2017), it is expected:

  • A review of existing national and regional plans and their relevance to drought management vis-à-vis demographic, economic change and climatic environment.
  • The capitalization of existing experiences on drought at the community level and support innovative activities of key local stakeholders.
  • A development plan and implementation of capacity building activities for the improvement of drought management in the region.
  • A strengthening of partnership and collaboration.

The plenary discussions and group work led to better refine the implementation strategy and to lay the milestones for mapping of initiatives and structures in West Africa that are in the area of drought. At the end of the two (2) days’ workshop, 85% of the participants were satisfied and unanimously insisted for the setting up of a good coordination mechanism of IDMP stakeholders in WA.

The integrated Drought Management Program is a joint program of the Global Water Partnership and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) launched in March 2013 at the High Level Meeting on national policy on drought in Geneva, Switzerland. The West African component was developed and is being implemented by the Regional Water Partnership (GWP/WA). The IDMP/WAF should improve the drought resistance of countries, communities and ecosystems. Its contribution will in particular be to strengthen the partnership and influence policy and practice of a more integrated management of drought in the West African region in the context of a changing climate.