Three years ago, in January 2017, just a few months after the COP 22 Conference of the Parties was held in Marrakech, Morocco, Niger, through the President of the Republic Issoufou Mahamadou, was entrusted with the heavy and exhilarating mission of chairing the Climate Commission for the Sahel Region (CCRS), one of the three commissions in the African region created to tackle the problem of climate change.
Under the impetus of the Head of State, President of the CCRS, Niger very quickly and early on set to work to operationalize this commission by immediately creating the Cadre Transitoire Opérationnel (CTO-CCRS), headed by a coordinator and equipped with an office in downtown Niamey and support staff. It was on Wednesday, October 28th that the Minister, Director of Cabinet of the President of the Republic, Mr. Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, officially launched the activities of the CTO-CCRS at the Palais des Congrès in Niamey.
The Climate Commission for the Sahel Region, chaired by the Head of State and coordinated by Niger, brings together seventeen (17) Member States on the Sahelian strip from Djibouti to Senegal. The CCRS was born out of the African Summit on Action for Continental Co-Emergence which was held in Morocco on the sidelines of COP 22, on the initiative of King Mohamed VI. In officially launching the activities of CTO-CCRS, the Minister Director of Cabinet had at his side the Minister of Environment, Urban Health and Sustainable Development, Mr. Almoustapha Garba, and many personalities including the Resident Representative of UNDP, Ms. Diana Louise Ofwona, that of the AfDB, Mr. Noureddine Kane Dia, and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, HE Allal El Chab in particular. These three personalities are the main technical and financial partners of CTO-CCRS.
The launching ceremony thus marks the beginning of the process for the effective implementation of the activities of the TC-CCRS, a prelude to the implementation of the Climate Plan for the Sahel; it was an opportunity for the Minister Director of Cabinet to recall the process that led to the establishment of the CTO-CCRS and to explain that the Climate Commission for the Sahel Region works alongside two other regional commissions, one for the Congo Basin and another for island states. Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou reported that the CCRS led by President Issoufou Mahamadou has developed a Climate Investment Plan for the Sahel Region (ICP-RS 2018-2030) with an overall budget of US$44 billion. It intends to work as part of the global effort to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but also to increase community resilience and livelihoods, he said.
The ICP-RS 2018-2030 was adopted in February 2019 in Niamey by the heads of state and government of the CCRS member countries at their conference, the minister said, adding that a permanent secretariat has also been established to ensure the coordination, implementation and monitoring of the ICP and its priority program 2020-2025. This is where the need to create the Operational Transitional Framework under the supervision of the President of the CCRS was born. Its mission is to lead the process from the operationalization of the commission to the establishment of the executive secretariat. Since his appointment as President of the Commission, President Issoufou has spared no effort to ensure that Niger plays its role effectively in order to trigger the operationalization process. The Minister Director of Cabinet recalls to this effect that Niger has financed regional thematic meetings, assigned and fitted out premises serving as the Commission’s headquarters in Niamey, mobilized support staff and provided CTO-CCRS with an initial budget. However, in this committed effort, Niger benefited from the support of technical and financial partners, including the Cherifian Kingdom, the African Development Bank, the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank.
The support of these TFPs has enabled the transitional framework to be set up and operational, ready to face the tasks « assigned to it by the president of the commission, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the first conference of leaders of the Sahel region, » said the Minister Director of the Office of the President of the Republic. He further explained that CTO-CCRS should lead the process of carrying out a series of strategic and regulatory due diligences to enable a coherent and sustainable operation of the CCRS bodies and ensure better capitalization of the results of the roundtable on the financing of the ICP-RS and its priority program. The CTO will thus rely on a roadmap of programmed actions and recommend mobilizing 8.4 billion F CFA by 2020.
Stressing that the bulk of the financial efforts should come from member countries, Mr. Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou invited them to honor their commitments regarding the operationalization of the commission.
notably that of contributing 10% for the implementation of the ICP-RS. On behalf of the President of the CCRS, the Minister-Cabinet Director launched an appeal to the technical and financial partners for sustained support for the implementation of the roadmap. He congratulated and encouraged the team of the CTO-CCRS technical coordinator, Mr. Issifi Boureima, and invited it to « spare no effort for the efficient management of the transitional process that should guarantee the establishment of a permanent and efficient secretariat and the successful implementation of the Climate Investment Plan ».
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, HE Allal El Chab, congratulated Niger for creating optimal conditions to make the CLS operational, which brings together countries where climate change poses many challenges to communities. He indicated that his country has initiated and implemented strategies to combat the effects of climate change and is making a substantial contribution and its adherence to the global effort for sustainable development. The kingdom is committed to making the climate issue in Africa a priority, stressing that the continent suffers the adverse consequences of climate change while it is the least emitter of greenhouse gas, he said. Mr. El Chab recalled the initiative of King Mohamed VI to convene the action summit in 2016 on the sidelines of COP 22 which allowed the creation of Climate Commissions and took several initiatives with the aim of coordinating and harmonizing actions to fight against climate change and seek the best solutions to climate challenges on the continent.
The diplomat said that his country is committed to take charge of feasibility studies on the implementation of the ICP and to support the commission through the competence center on climate change (4C) of Morocco. He announced that the two 4C structures and the CCRS would sign a memorandum of understanding, the same evening of the launch of the activities of CTO-CCRS. The representative of the ADB in Niger, Mr. Nourdine Kane Dia, also congratulated Niger for the launch of the activities of CTO-CCRS, indicating that this is a « very important milestone in the implementation of the guidelines resulting from the first conference of Heads of State and Government of the CCRS held in Niamey in February 2019 ». For the AfDB representative, the launch confirms Niger’s commitment to the fight against change and for the emergence of a resilient Sahel under the remarkable leadership of the President of the Republic in the service of the environmental cause.
The CTO-CCRS endowment is, in his view, a perfect illustration of this presidential commitment. Mr. Dia praised the personal investment of Minister Almoustapha Garba and the total dedication of the CTO-CCRS coordinator, Mr. Issifi Boureima for the operationalization of the commission. Having placed the resilient and sustainable development of Africa at the heart of its ten-year strategy, the AfDB has responded favourably to the request of the Nigerien authorities to accompany them in the operationalization of the Sahel climate commission, said Mr. Dia while thanking the government for the confidence in soliciting support and for the designation of the AfDB as lead TFP of the PIC-RS 20218-2030.
he UNDP Resident Representative highlighted the very arid character of the Sahel zone stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Horn of Africa, which is considered by the group of experts as one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change and climate variability with the consequences of yield reduction, frequency of disasters, heat waves, silting of rivers, ecosystem degradation, displacement of populations, insecurity and climate-sensitive diseases. For Ms. Ofwona Louise, the time is ripe for action to move to the operationalization of the CLS. And to achieve this, she stresses the need to focus on an effective, collective and supportive implementation of ICP-RS 2018-2030, explaining that it constitutes a specific response and a shared long-term vision for the resilience of people and ecosystems in the Sahel region. After the launching ceremony, the Minister Director of Cabinet and representatives of TFPs visited the CTO-CCRS headquarters where they verbally encouraged the staff supporting the coordinator.
In the evening, the Minister Director of Cabinet, Mr. Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, and the Minister of Energy of Morocco, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, sealing the beginning of the partnership between CTO-CCRS and the Climate Change Competence Center of Morocco. The two ministers, namely Mr. Aziz Rabbah and Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, welcomed the signing of the memorandum. On the Niger side, the virtual signing ceremony took place in the presence of the Minister of Environment of Niger and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco.