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Massive mobilization of PRISE stakeholders in Burkina Faso around the burning issue of economic resilience to climate change

January 2015 : For three days, IED Afrique has created a space for reflection, learning and sharing between PRSISE stakeholders in Burkina around the burning issue of economic resilience to climate change. The actors, who for the most part had participated in the first PRISE stakeholder workshop (in July 2014), had confirm their interest in PRISE research and issues by taking actively part in the restitution of the first results of research and the implementation of the national stakeholder engagement platform of PRISE in Burkina

Day 1 : Sharing of the first results of the review on the context of climate change in Burkina

During the first day of PRISE national stakeholder workshop, on Tuesday, January 13, we were happy to see the massive participation of representatives of farmers’ organizations, the private sector, women’s organization, NGOs, regional organizations, researchers and government technical department.

Gathered in the largest conference room of the Hotel Palm Beach, they had enough space to share and discuss the results that were to be presented. IED Afrique has thus saw the participation of senior representatives of various sectors and institutions including The Peasant Confederation of Faso (Confédération Paysanne du FASO), the National Federation of Rural Women (Fédération Nationale des Femmes Rurales), CILSS, the Federation of Food Industry of Burkina (Fédération des Industries Agroalimentaires du Burkina), as well as partners technical and financial (European Union) and senior researchers, at that work session.

The official opening of the workshop was chaired by the General Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources, Sanitation and Food Security, Mr. Moussa Kabore, who paid tribute to "the strong mobilization of actors which demonstrates the interest of all to share with the government on issues relating to the evaluation of the impact of climate change on economic and social development of Burkina ".

After the official opening of the workshop, the work could start with an introductory presentation on climate risks and scenarios in Burkina jointly led by Professor Jean Marie Dipama of the University of Ouagadougou and Dr. Cheikh Tidiane Wade, PRISE principal researcher at IED Afrique. This session highlighted the evolution of climate change in Burkina since the post-colonial period, as well as possible future scenarios and forecasts for the next 50 years.

Key climate risks that Burkina faces and the various issues and challenges posed by climate change on economic growth in Burkina Faso were also raised. The session was followed by a restitution of first results of the country situation assessment analyzed from the perspective of the evolution of climate variability and climate change.

In the afternoon, participants were divided into groups according to the three major agro-geographical zones of Burkina namely the North Zone, the Central Zone and East Zone, with three main tasks : (i) present the specific potentialities of each area, (ii) analyze the main challenges that these areas face and which are exacerbated by climate change ; and (iii) identify ongoing interventions which are implemented by the actors at the macro and micro levels to address these issues.

It is important to note that the level of commitment of the stakeholder who participated in the workshop and the wealth and relevance of their contributions are all encouraging signs for the conduct of the next step of PRISE project. This was also confirmed by the Secretary General, who, in his opening remarks, sought to reassure the audience about the interest of the Ministry of Agriculture on PRISE research and the results that would come out of this workshop.

Day 2 : "We search, we search, we find and we write. But how to put into practice what has been written ? "

It was with these words that the President of the National Federation of Rural Women (FENAFER) wished to recall the crucial dimension of the implementation phase of research results for producers.

The main activity of the second day was the sharing panel on the results of the thematic reviews on the link between climate risks and the four key sub-themes of PRISE project, namely : (i) markets and value chains ; (ii) Governance, institutions and funding ; (iii) Natural Capital ; and (iv) Human capital. The many questions and contributions of participants who followed the presentations of the researchers clearly reflect their strong desire to contribute to the definition of PRISE research questions and priorities.

The panel saw a succession of several teams of researchers who by turns presented the results of their research ; including the challenges and opportunities raised by climate change on the economic and social development of Burkina. It was for example :

- the mutation of economic activities due to climate change which has resulted in a geographical shift of pastoral activity to the South (in search of grazing lands) ; the gradual disappearance of cotton cultivation in the North-Central region and which is now strongly established in the Soudanian South-west ; But also the opportunities of climate change including green funding and jobs ;
- the development of appropriate mechanisms to strengthen the coherence of interventions, as well as the participation of all stakeholders in the development, implementation and evaluation of adaptation strategies ;
- the need to employ new methods, cheaper, faster and adapted to local realities to enhance productivity, improve plant and animal species, adapt cultivation methods to soils and climates and organize the fight against epidemics and plagues ;
- losses and risks to health, education, employment and nutrition, as well as migration, most important in a context of changing climate than in a situation without climate change ;

Following the presentations, the floor was given to participants who were able to react to the high quality of findings that have been presented.

“We search, we search, we find and we write. But how to put into practice what has been written ?”

One of the highlights of the second day was the powerful plea of the President of the Federation of Rural Women of Burkina Faso, Mrs Nene Colette, who, in his intervention, held a remind to the researchers the difficulties faced by rural people to get access to research findings. Calling on the Government to strengthen its support to research, so that it can effectively contribute in finding practical and concrete solutions to rural problems, she has recalled the existence of a continuing need of rural people to access to new technologies and techniques, in order to cope with climate change and variability and continue to meet the growing demand for food (agricultural products and livestock, fishery and forestry products) in Burkina without an increase of the prices and the degradation of natural resources and environment.

Indeed, in a context of climate change, investment in climate research have been and continue to be highly beneficial to society since research is able to provide good answers to the problems of food insecurity and poverty, exacerbated in arid and semi-arid by climate change. Research and technological development are essential to achieve the preservation and / or the structural transformation of key sectors of the economy, which are crucial for the economic empowerment, social, political and cultural development of developing countries, including Burkina Faso.

Day 3 : Proposition of research questions and implementation of PRISE stakeholder engagement platform in Burkina

The different reviews presented during day 1 and 2 aimed at providing a baseline about the policies and programs implemented in Burkina since the post-colonial period to address climate challenges and issues. They also helped to have a better understanding of climate risk concept and how it affects key drivers of socio-economic development, including natural capital, human capital, markets and value chains or institutions and the governance system. The reflections produced by these different presentations also allowed participants to examine the different socio-economic scenarios that could result from current and future climate change.

PRISE research team needed afterward to translate the various questions and issues raised by the debate into real research themes and issues that could be implemented by researchers in different agro-ecological regions. Participants were separated into three groups according to the three agro-geographical areas of Burkina (North Zone, Central Zone and East Zone), with the main task of using the issues and climate and socioeconomic scenarios identified during the first two days of the workshop to provide 3-4 relevant research questions, case studies and potential sites that could constitute the framework of study for the implementation phase of the project.

Eight (8) criteria have been proposed to guide participants in identifying research questions. The questions should thus lead to research :

- Feasible and shareable by 2017 (early recovery) ;
- With a national resonance (reproducibility) ;
- Relevant to the priorities of the country ;
- Based on ongoing initiatives and responses ;
- Presenting opportunities for synergy with other initiatives ;
- Various and complementary (between the themes and sites) ;
- That could have an impact on the populations ;
- That could be easily supported/uptake by policy makers (ownership and political support).

The last session of the workshop was devoted to the establishment of the national platform of stakeholders PRESA project in Burkina. It was essentially for participants to reflect on three key elements that constitute the platform : the functioning, the governance and the monitoring and evaluation of the platform. The many contributions of the participants have produced a good base of activities and indicators for the implementation of the platform.

In the afternoon, the closing ceremony of the workshop was chaired by Dr. François Lompo, Burkinabe Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources, Sanitation and Food Security (Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Ressources hydrauliques, de l’Assainissement et de la Sécurité alimentaire). After thanking the participants for their engagement and commitment in searching solution to cope with the adverse effects of climate change in Burkina, Dr Lompo shared a strong message : "I can assure you that the recommendations and suggestions from that workshop will be the subject of special attention from the relevant departments of the State, especially in my department, "said the Minister.

According to Dr. Lompo, "the results of your research will certainly enable decision makers to make decisions that are based on scientific evidence." He explained that the results of the research can guide policies that should lead to actions, allowing in return to responding to people’s concerns.