UK Department for International Development (DFID)
Prof Ros Cornforth, Dr Celia Petty, Dr Henny Osbahr, Dr Sarah Cardey, Mary Allen (Practical Action), Luisa Ciampi
Met Office, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
1 November 2017 - 31 October 2019
Senegal; Burkina Faso; Niger
social protection, livelihoods, climate information, resilience, seasonal forecasting, adaptive, training, climate services
People Centred Climate Services in the Sahel seeks to provide technical assistance to improve the availability, use and relevance of good quality weather and climate information, as well as strengthen regional and institutional coordination.
This project is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The project consortium includes the Met Office, the Walker Institute at the University of Reading, and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The project team aim to provide technical assistance and climate information system (CIS) expertise to improve the availability, relevance and use of weather and climate information and help strengthen regional and institutional coordination across three west African Sahelian countries: Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger.
Climate service needs and knowledge gaps
There is a real need for good quality weather and climate information in the Sahel, and a need for this to be made available and integrated into resilience planning, helping to reduce impacts on communities and reverse the disaster-poverty trap.
The project is working to better understand the climate information needs of Social Protection and resilience stakeholders in the region, and to establish the best way to meet these needs.
It will provide climate information system expertise and flexible response to demand, helping inform the work of World Bank-funded Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) as well as DFID- funded Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Extremes and Disasters Programme (BRACED), and other resilience work.
Adaptive Social Protection
A Multi Donor Trust Fund to support ASP Systems has been established by the World Bank. This aims to lift the most vulnerable people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal out of a downward spiral of debt, asset depletion, poor health and malnutrition, and improve livelihoods and living standards in the face of frequent and severe weather and climate events.
Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Extremes and Disasters Programme (BRACED) is part of DFID’s response to the recommendation that the threat from climate change and other potential hazards should be integrated into disaster risk reduction. BRACED is helping people become more resilient to climate extremes in Asia, East Africa and importantly the Sahel.
The project is currently in the final Implementation phase following the inception phase. Activities in the Inception phase were designed to understand the climate information needs of Social Protection and resilience stakeholders in the region and to establish the best way to meet these needs.
The main conclusions of the evidence gathering phase were:
There is increasing evidence to suggest that social protection interventions can dramatically reduce disaster risk and vulnerability to climate change by increasing the adaptive capacity of households and communities though provision of a greater range of livelihood options. However, there is limited evidence of how climate and livelihood information can be successfully integrated into ASP;
There are some well-adopted tools and initiatives in the Sahel region to monitor drought, food security and nutrition which could support ASP and BRACED, such as the Cadre Harmonisé, HEA, ARC and PRESASS. However, there is a lack of institutional capacity to maintain current level of skills and meet future demands, and existing tools tend to address slow-onset shocks and response mechanisms are still limited to cope with rapid-onset events;
Seasonal and sub-seasonal timescales seem to have the most potential to drive action to inform ASP decisions. However, seasonal and sub-seasonal climate outlooks are associated with substantial uncertainty. Shorter-range forecasts are also relevant if they are informed by livelihood data to improve impact forecasting and rapid targeting of interventions;
Communication and inter-agency operating procedures are fundamental to the effective and sustainable use of climate services; and
Building institutional capacity to maintain current levels of skills and meet future demands is required to establish sustainable services to support ASP.
As identified during the evidence-gathering period for this project, initiatives to integrate the activities of ASP and climate stakeholders are at an early stage, and whilst there is value of integrating climate and livelihoods information into ASP, the specific types of climate information needed to inform the design, targeting and scale up of ASP instruments are not clear.
In Work Package 1, ASPIRE will facilitate shared discussion between ASP and climate stakeholders with the aim of designing and delivering tangible tailored services (on a range of timescales) for social protection, led by the Walker Institute. Alongside this, Work Package 2 will seek to enhance the underpinning capabilities of seasonal forecasters in the region and improve their relevance for social protection decision making (led by the UK Met Office).
As part of Work Package 2 the Walker Institute ran an ASPIRE Adaptive Social Protection Training in Dakar, Senegal in April of 2019.