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UNECE and partners in Senegal train transboundary basin representatives in preparing bankable project proposals for climate change adaptation

Transboundary cooperation in climate change adaptation is crucial in preventing mal-adaptation and in making adaptation in shared basins more effective. However, many climate funds do not yet consider applications for joint interventions in transboundary basins.

River basin organizations have an important role to play in transboundary basins: depending on their mandate, resources and structure, this role may range from knowledge generation on climate change and its impacts, knowledge sharing, experience sharing between member States and adaptation strategy development, to monitoring and evaluation or even the implementation of adaptation measures.

River basin organizations need to find their “niche” and demonstrate their added value to submit applications to climate funds. Political buy-in from all basin countries is needed; in this regard, a strong transboundary agreement or arrangement in the basin can be useful. Often, the role of river basin organizations is more focused on the coordination of projects than on their implementation.

These were some of the outcomes of discussions held during training on preparing bankable project proposals for financing climate change adaptation in transboundary basins, which was organized for the first time by UNECE, the International Network of Basin Organizations and banks including the World Bank, the African Water Facility/ African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank, together with the lead countries for climate change adaptation activities under UNECE’s Water Convention, namely the Netherlands and Switzerland. The French Development Agency also contributed to the training.

Participants learned about definitions and concepts of climate change adaptation and finance, the project cycle, stages of preparing a project proposal and the dos and don’ts of proposal development. Representatives from the banks explained the different criteria for bankability, as well as the large variety of funds available. In particular, they stressed that project proposals need to be adapted to the donor, technically sound and financially viable, and must comply with environmental protection and social standards. In this respect, compliance with international water law is an important aspect in the preparation of funding applications.

The training took place on 21-23 June in Dakar, Senegal, and was hosted by the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River Basin. It brought together 33 participants from 16 basins mostly in Africa (Congo, Gambia, Great Lakes, Lake Kivu/ River Ruzizi, Nile, North-Western Sahara Aquifer System, Orange, Okavango, Senegal, Lake Victoria, Volta, Zambezi), as well as some basins in Eastern Europe (Dniester, Drin, Neman) and Central Asia (Chu Talas).

During the opening session of the training, the recently appointed High Commissioner of the Senegal Basin Development Organization explained that a main driver for the creation of the river basin organization in 1972 was the need to raise common resources to deal with recurring droughts in the Senegal basin, which were eventually tackled through the construction of commonly owned water infrastructures. Recently, the decision was taken to tackle the challenges linked to climate change by developing a climate investment plan.

Other basins participating in the training also shared their experiences. For example, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission prepared a project proposal which was accepted by the Adaptation Fund. The Observatory for Sahara and Sahel has been accredited to the Adaptation Fund and is in the process of accreditation for the Green Climate Fund. Furthermore, the riparian countries in the Dniester River basin jointly developed a transboundary adaptation strategy and related implementation plan.

For further information on the event, please visit: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=45666#/

To learn more about UNECE’s work on water and adaptation to climate change, please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/water/water_climate_activ.html