Today, on Earth Day, I am reminded of the severe impact of climate change, which affects all of us on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the impact is not experienced with the same intensity by everybody, with disadvantaged countries most severely affected. That is why Christian Aid Sahel and our BRACED partners are working hard to give local communities the resources and knowledge to understand and mitigate the risks themselves.
Negotiating a better deal
Last month at the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, a new agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction was signed to review the former Hyogo Framework. One of the aims of this conference was to see how countries could adapt and plan to reduce the impact of future shocks and disasters due to climate change with a focus on local resilience.
And next December, we hope that the COP in Paris will sign a global agreement concerning our climate, including financial engagement and global action to tackle the climate challenge. The ultimate objective is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
These international conferences and frameworks emphasise the importance of civil society organizations, including NGOs, which play a key role in order to build resilient societies and economies alongside governments.
Climate change in Burkina Faso
Many countries are taking action to cope with climate change and this is also the case for Burkina Faso, which is hosting a global programme named BRACED, which stands for “Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters”. This programme is aiming to support the most at-risk populations, especially women and children, to improve their resilience to shocks and stresses.
Burkina Faso, as with all Sahelian countries, is feeling the negative effects of climate change and variability, including droughts, floods, violent winds and extreme temperatures, resulting in the devastation of the livelihoods of an already disarmed population, worn by poverty. The impact on the population is felt disproportionately by women, who carry out the majority of food crop-related operations, and children.
Therefore we can easily understand the importance of carrying out efforts in synergy to support these communities.
BRACED Burkina Faso: ‘Zaman Lebidi’
Our BRACED programme will contribute to this effort by giving those living in rural areas, particularly farmers and herders, the resources and knowledge to better understand and mitigate the risks themselves.
The BRACED programme in Burkina Faso, known as ‘Zaman Lebidi’ (in local languages ‘the changing world’), gathers together a diversity of actors such as civil society organisations, meteorological services and media outlets, as well as research institutions.
Together, these actors will work to improve the livelihoods of the most vulnerable people through agricultural capacity-building activities and will disseminate weather forecast and other climate information in local languages using text/voice messages and radio.
These specific, adapted and reliable weather and climate information will improve their ability to implement adaptation strategies for agricultural production, diversification of markets, variation of irrigation systems and development of the plains.
By having access to better information and resources, these communities will be in much better position to anticipate and cope with the negative effects of climate change and this will have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of their families and livestock.
Welcome to the BRACED Burkina Faso blog. In the coming weeks and months, we will be providing regular updates on our programme. Join us as we meet the local communities and work together to improve access to climate information. We hope to see many positive changes in the coming months and years.
Romain Cardon is the BRACED Programme Director for Christian Aid Burkina Faso.