28 Aug 2023

Toward Concrete and People Centered Climate Action in West Africa: The Role of Dialogue and Collaboration

  • Date
    07 Sep 2023, 10:30am
  • Location
    Nairobi, Kenya
  • Organizer

    IOM, UNCCESD, UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre for West and Central Africa, UNEP and UNOWAS


There is an emerging global consensus about the adverse impacts of climate change on the economic, social, security and political systems that underpin each nation. In West Africa, climate change is increasingly recognized as a risk multiplier that exacerbates existing threats and vulnerabilities.

In the region, climate change is a serious threat to food production and livelihood of rural households. It is also challenging urban areas’ resilience as well as their capacity to respond to the needs of those who are moving to cities in the context of climate change. Where institutions and governments are unable to manage the pressure from or absorb the shocks of a changing climate, the affected populations’ well-being is being increasingly threatened, with the potential to undermine social cohesion. In certain areas, climate change can fuel inter-communal tensions, especially where resource governance is weak. The spike in farmer-herder conflicts is a case in point. While over half of the population in the region depends on rain-fed agriculture and livestock rearing for subsistence, extreme weather events such as recurring droughts, erratic rainfall, heat waves, sea level rise and flooding have rendered populations more vulnerable. In this context, human mobility is also a central preoccupation. According to World Bank predictions, there could be over 32 million internal environmental migrants in West Africa by 2050 unless concrete climate action and inclusive development efforts are conducted (Groundswell report: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration, 2018 and 2021).

However, the response to climate change is still not sufficient in the region. There is a need to mobilize and ensure a fair and balanced distribution of climate finance, and scale-up Nature-Based Solutions, prioritizing communities at the forefront and in vulnerable situations.

With the objective of responding to these challenges, the UN-CCESD was established in June 2021 to encourage UN information-sharing and cross-pillar coordination to reduce the adverse implications of climate change and environmental degradation on human security; and address the impact of these phenomena on human mobility and peace in the region.

In this context and ahead of the 28th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the UN-CCESD Secretariat is organizing a joint side-event on 7th September 2023, from 10.30 to 11.30 AM in Nairobi, Kenya.

Event Description 

The objective of this side-event is to offer a platform to discuss the role of dialogue and collaboration for climate action in West Africa. This joint side-event aims at facilitating dialogue between donors, policymakers and promote local youth-led initiatives. Building on the Dakar 2022 call to action for Climate Change Peace and Security and the results of the continental workshop “Strengthening Africa Youth Voices on Human Mobility in the context of Climate Change Africa”, this event will provide a space for dialogue between practitioners, youth and decision-makers. It will also provide youth representatives

with the opportunity to present their local climate action initiatives and the challenges they are facing, particularly in terms of access to climate funding.

Organized by the UNCCESD for West Africa -composed of UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre West and Central Africa, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), The UN Office for West & Central Africa (UNOWAS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)- this event will contribute to stimulating dialogue, enabling practitioners to strengthen partnerships for inclusive and sustainable climate action in West Africa.

This event will be a space for dialogue between practitioners, youth, and decision-makers. At the end of the side event, participants will have a better understanding of the status of implementation and partnership around local community-led climate action in West Africa. Specifically, the event will lead to three main outcomes:

  • Participants are cognizant of best practices and lessons learnt on concrete climate action in the West Africa and the Sahel region.

  • Develop a shared understanding of the major obstacles to climate action funding at more community level.

  • Strengthened collaboration and dialogue established between practitioners, youth, and decision-makers for a concrete climate action, leading to sustainable peace.

Scope: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Contributing to African Climate Week’s Track 4: Societies, health, livelihoods, and economies


  • Mr. Manuel Marques-Pereira, Head of Migration, Environment, Climate Change and Risk Reduction Division of the International Organization for Migration

  • Dr. Iniobong Abiola-Awe, Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria

  • Dr. Galiné Yanon, Climate Peace and Security Advisor for the United Nations Office for West Africa and Sahel- Dakar, Senegal

  • Mr. Moubarak Moukaila, Project Director of the West Africa Alliance on Carbon Markets and Climate Finance, linked to the West African Development Bank- Lomé, Togo

  • Ms. Nadia Owusu, Youth Advocate- Accra, Ghana

For any specific questions please contact: Aminata Niane aniane@iom.int and Galine Yanon galine.yanon@un.org